Christmas 2023 – 9 Trends for Businesses to Look Out For.
Don’t have time to stick around and read the entire blog? Not to worry! In a nutshell…
Five key strategies that your business should be taking into account as we head into Christmas 2023 are;
- A Discount/Sale Strategy
- Personalisation for Customers
- A Sustainability Strategy
- Attractive Returns Policy
- Where Possible Offer BOPIS (Buy Online Pick-up In Store)
Meanwhile, four key social media marketing strategies that your business should be looking to take advantage of in the lead-up to Christmas are;
- Stay Alert To TikTok Trends (Songs, Sounds, Dances)
- Get Involved With Challenges
- Do A Christmas Shoot
- Use Social Media To Communicate Important Messages
Let’s get stuck in…
We hate to be this person but, Christmas 2023 is just around the corner! As we head into another hectic Q4, it’s crucial for businesses to stay ahead of the ever-evolving retail landscape.
With the 2022 shopping season as our guide, we have extracted valuable insights into the key trends that are shaping consumer behavior and driving purchasing decisions.
In this blog post, we explore for you some of the emerging trends that brands and retailers need to keep a close eye on in relation to Christmas gifts in 2023. From deep discounts and personalised experiences to sustainability and efficient returns policies.
Cost of Living Crisis Continues.
As you are well aware, the cost of living crisis is still having a major impact on consumers’ purchasing habits. The screenshot below from a report from Retail Economics will give you an indication of how people will be approaching the buying of Christmas gifts this year.
The chances are, that the vast majority of your consumers and target consumers fall into the 88% of people who will be buying Christmas gifts with some financial consideration. This needs to be taken into account when setting up your strategy for Christmas 2023.
1. Discounts Drive Sales.
During the 2022 shopping season, discounts and deals were a major driving force behind purchasing gifts. Christmas 2023 will be no different.
Despite inflationary pressures, retailers offered deep discounts to entice consumers and boost sales. For instance, during the Black Friday sales period, consumers enjoyed average discounts of 29.8% on electronics and 33.8% on toys.
While such discounting on Black Friday is not a novel phenomenon, the discounts in 2022 were above average in many cases, with most retailers offering discounts in the double digits, reaching as high as 34%.
With inflation rates decreasing, retailers may be inclined to continue discounting to attract price-sensitive shoppers. However, there is a risk that heavy discounting during the 2022 holiday season may have conditioned consumers to wait for last-minute deals, thus prolonging the shopping season. The data shows that people are willing to wait right up until Christmas Eve to bag a bargain!
Our own data from some 2023 summer sales that we ran with clients also indicates this. We had our most successful ever online sale in May of this year with one of our e-comm clients, with big discounts to kick off the summer season. Your customers are likely to go elsewhere for a bargain, rather than pay for a full-priced item with you.
Key business takeaway – You should have some sort of discount, price offer, or value proposition in place. And leave it available right up to Christmas Eve!
2. Personalisation Is Expected.
Personalised Christmas gifts and experiences based on individual needs and preferences are increasingly becoming the norm for consumers, replacing the one-size-fits-all approach.
In the lead-up to Christmas 2023, retailers such as Boots are expected to continue to reward their customers with exclusive savings and lowest prices through Boots Price Advantage, as consumers seek the best value for products such as everyday essentials and beauty products.
Through this, retailers can also gather essential data and analytics about consumer purchasing trends, which can aid in creating better personalised experiences for their customers.
From our own experience with our e-comm clients, an average of 30% of online sales comes through targeted, personalised, and segmented email marketing. This personalised approach to campaigns has also seen past results of a 120% increase in online orders and a 65% increase in monthly revenue. You can learn more about how to segment and personalise your email marketing list here.
Key business takeaway – Get your customers signed up for things like loyalty programmes and mailing lists. You can then use the data they give you to personalise and vastly improve recommendations and offers.
3. Sustainability Continues To Grow.
The trend of conscious consumerism is continuing to gain traction as people want to support brands that prioritise sustainability and ethical practices. However, for many individuals, limited budgets pose a challenge to fully embracing these values in their purchasing decisions.
A recent survey by McKinsey found that the majority of consumers care about buying environmentally and ethically sustainable products, with more than 60% of respondents expressing their willingness to pay more for products with sustainable packaging.
In an effort to save money and contribute to a more sustainable future, consumers are turning to the resale market. This market has been popular since the rise of the internet and now brands and retailers are getting in on the action too.
By reselling used merchandise from existing customers, brands are able to create a sense of loyalty and generate return business. For example, Coach offers a category on their website for “recycled” bags, which are products that were previously owned and have been deconstructed and redesigned into unique pieces. This innovative offering gives loyal customers a reason to come back to the site and potentially make additional purchases.
The appeal of resold goods lies in consumers’ desire to save money, support sustainability, and bypass the long delivery times often associated with new products. According to a survey, over one in three consumers plan to buy a used item for someone else in the next six months.
Key Business Takeaway – A majority of your customers care about, and are willing to pay more, for practices that are ethical and environmentally friendly.
4. An Attractive Returns Policy.
Managing returns in an efficient manner has become a top priority for businesses, especially considering the significant increase in returns during the previous Christmas shopping season. However, most efforts to address returns have focused on implementing restrictions rather than creating a positive customer experience, resulting in only a 1% decrease in returns in the first quarter of 2023.
Research consistently shows that the returns experience has a considerable impact on buying decisions. A brand or retailer’s return policy is thoroughly researched by 93% of shoppers before making a purchase.
Furthermore, 81% of shoppers have stopped buying from a brand or retailer after a single negative return experience. It is also important for returns to be reasonable, as 78% of shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart if free returns were not available. Additionally, 30% of shoppers stated that receiving a refund instead of store credit influenced their choice of where and when to make a purchase.
In our current uncertain economy, shoppers are becoming more deliberate in their purchasing decisions. This may result in an increase in returns and has the potential to either retain or lose loyal customers.
Key business takeaway – Christmas 2023 gift returns are unavoidable. You need to advertise an attractive returns policy to drive additional sales online, as well as follow through on this policy to ensure the potential for returning customers in the future.
5. Where Possible, Offer BOPIS.
Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) options have gained popularity and continue to be essential for shoppers. Research indicates that BOPIS influences consumers’ choice of retailer, with 39% of shoppers actively seeking out retailers who offer this service.
BOPIS not only benefits consumers but also drives sales. In fact, 41% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase after browsing online for available inventory at physical store locations compared to a year ago. This demonstrates that visibility and convenience play a significant role in customer loyalty. During the Christmas shopping season in 2022, BOPIS accounted for one in five online orders, which increased to over one in three after the shipping cutoff dates.
Implementing a successful BOPIS strategy can be complex. Stores need to provide the necessary training, processes, metrics, and incentives to scale this service effectively. Seamless execution through tools is critical to achieving streamlined operations, high customer satisfaction, and positive associate morale.
Research further indicates that offering BOPIS provides value to the brand and retailer. Companies that offer BOPIS have seen a seven-fold increase in online revenue compared to brick-and-mortar stores that do not provide this option.
Key brand takeaway – If you own a physical shop or store, look at ways to implement a BOPIS service for your local online customers.
What About Social Media Trends?
There are new online trends being organically developed every single day, but it is also safe to say that around Christmas there are more trends than usual. People are spending more time on their phones browsing social media, researching potential gifts, planning events, etc.
Getting your brand or business out there from November 1st onwards to take advantage of things like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the general build-up to Christmas is hugely important. You can create mass brand awareness and engagement for very little investment by staying on top of social media trends around this period.
These were the biggest social media trends of Christmas 2022 and here are our recommendations for you to stay on top of them.
1. Stay Alert to TikTok Trends.
Keep an eye out for the major trends of Christmas 2023. These trends are likely to be;
All-Time Classic Christmas Songs.
You can very easily plan some Christmas-themed content in advance using some of the all-time Christmas classics. This will deliver every year without fail!
Every single year songs such as “All I Want for Christmas is You”, “Santa Baby”, and “Jinglebell Rock” will begin trending on TikTok and Instagram again from mid-November. Videos using these songs are likely to receive a higher volume of reach and impressions simply because of the global attention they will be receiving.
Simply create videos that marry your product, service, or industry with the lyrics to the songs. This is a solid starting place for a November/December content strategy.
The sound clip “Microwave Popcorn” by Bo Burnham trended on TikTok in the lead-up to Christmas last year, being used in almost 300,000 individual posts. Even though the original sound had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, it caught fire and was used by individuals and businesses across the world.
There is no way of knowing what the next major trend is going to be. But once a trend has been established, it is up to you to be an early adapter. Keep your ear to the ground by monitoring social media daily and catch a trend early to take advantage of its surge in the algorithm.
Also, just because a sound has absolutely nothing to do with your business or industry, does not mean you cannot tailor it to your own content. If we take “Microwave Popcorn” as an example, on TikTok you can find businesses such as dress shops and jewelry vendors who very successfully took advantage of its popularity.
It wouldn’t be right for TikTok not to have a trending dance every so often! This was the case around Christmas 2022 with “I’ll Dance With My Hands” (The Wednesday Adams Dance).
Netflix’s “Wednesday Addams” was one of the biggest TV series released in the build-up to Christmas last year and the dance from the show caught fire. Amazingly, over 4.1m videos using the song have been posted, with businesses such as building suppliers and bespoke shelf-makers getting in on the action.
A safe bet would be that whatever the major TV series and films being released in the lead-up to Christmas will have sound bites that will start trending.
Escalate’s Tip for Christmas 2023 – Closely monitor social media for emerging trends and try to be an early adapter once one takes off.
2. Get Involved With Challenges.
Another thing that social media loves is a good challenge!
#JoyWithPret now has over 3.3bn impressions, with people posting videos of things that bring them joy. This challenge was initially set by the food outlet Pret A Manger.
A simple hashtag turned into a worldwide phenomenon, gathering billions of impressions for the brand. Why couldn’t you do the same? Your business could be the one receiving this notoriety off the back of a hashtag.
Meanwhile, participating in a trend that is gathering momentum is very likely to increase the chances of a viral piece of content for your business. And as with the trending dances and sounds, just because it isn’t directly related to your industry or business does not mean you can’t create content around it.
Escalate’s Tip for Christmas 2023 – Develop some potential ideas around an online challenge for your brand. Also, if another challenge and hashtag is trending, get in on it!
3. Carry Out A Christmas Photo/Video Shoot.
No matter what industry you are in or whatever type of business you might have, there is always room for Christmas-themed content.
Plan a photoshoot to heavily feature reds and greens. Incorporate Christmas decorations into the shoot. Add warm, winter filters and tones to the content captured. These are all very simple methods by which you can make your content more “Christmassy”.
You may have a strict content schedule and plan in place. Try to incorporate a Christmas shoot into your plan in October. This will give you time to edit the footage and plan it accordingly.
Escalate’s Tip for Christmas 2023 – Plan a Christmas shoot in October to make your social media feed a little more “Christmassy” in November and December.
4. Use Social Media To Communicate Important Messages.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of businesses are still not utilising social media to communicate key messages to their followers, who generally are their customers.
All businesses will have some sort of variation in their opening hours and work schedule over the Christmas period. Updating your Google Business Profile and sending out emails or SMS messages to customers to communicate these changes is important. But you should also use your various social media platforms to remind people too.
76% of people now check social media to get information on a business. Pin a post with delivery information to the top of your Instagram. Repost a weekly story to remind people that you are not open on Christmas Eve. And so on.
And as always with social media, make it fun! Look at how this business communicates its opening hours on TikTok.
Escalate’s Tip for Christmas 2023 – Use social media to communicate key business messages and information. Use as many touchpoints as possible to increase the likelihood of the message being received.
The retail landscape is constantly evolving, and staying on top of emerging trends is crucial for businesses to thrive in this ever-changing environment.
As we move into the Christmas 2023 shopping season, it is evident that consumers are seeking value, convenience, and ethical considerations in their purchasing decisions. By offering personalised deals, harnessing the power of data and analytics, and prioritising sustainability, retailers can create a compelling and differentiated shopping experience for their customers.
Effective returns management and the implementation of BOPIS options not only improve customer satisfaction but also drive sales and enhance customer loyalty. By investing in the necessary infrastructure, training, and technology, businesses can deliver seamless experiences and stay ahead of the competition.
As the retail landscape continues to evolve, it is vital for brands and retailers to adapt, innovate, and embrace these trends. By understanding and addressing the changing needs and preferences of consumers, businesses can position themselves for success in this dynamic retail landscape.
While over on social media, Christmas is arguably the busiest time of the year. In order to be heard, you need to make content that stands out and is current. Make sure you are on top of seasonal social media trends, carry out a Christmas-themed photoshoot, and use social media to convey important business information.
Email marketing can also play a pivotal role in driving sales around the Christmas period. Here are 5 ways you can increase your email marketing open rates.
Best of luck as we head into Q4!!