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4 Consumer Trends Impacting the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season

Wondering how to make sense of the 2022 holiday season? You’re not alone. Between sudden changes to consumer spending in light of recessions woes, shifts in technology and payments, supply chain disruptions, and evolving consumer trends, marketers and retailers everywhere are trying to get a grip on what’s shaping up to be a particularly dizzying holiday season. 

To provide folks with a little clarity on the subject, we turn to the editorial experts behind leading industry publications Marketing Dive, Retail Dive, Payments Dive, and Supply Chain Dive. In a first-ever cross-publication event, the four news outlets combined forces to shed some light as to what to expect this holiday season. Read on to check out some of the biggest takeaways below, and uncover what they mean for content marketers. 

Not Back to “Normal”

While consumers are excited to re-establish holiday traditions in a world where COVID has loosened its grip, experts across the industries agree that we shouldn’t expect consumer trends to go back to “normal” as we head into the season. 

In a series of unfortunate, inter-connected events, many brands over-compensated and over-ordered in an effort to combat supply chain bottlenecks. As recession woes mount, consumers have begun to shift their focus to spending on experiences, especially travel, rather than material goods — leaving these retailers with piles of excess inventory. Despite issues in the way of inventory, e-commerce is expected to still be popular this season. Large carriers have invested heavily to help meet these demands in order to get goods to consumers efficiently. 

What this means for content marketers:

With the seemingly constant chatter of an impending recession, businesses and consumers alike will be seeking support from their favorite brands, which can come in a myriad of creative outputs depending on your brand’s mission. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was how to pull off a good pivot. In times like these, investing in content marketing is more important than ever. By continuing to create content that provides real value to your audience and helps them navigate tough times, you can keep your brand top of mind through a downturn — and when things level out again. Use this uncertain time to improve the customer experience and make key improvements on your own channels.

Omnichannel Retail — the Reason for the Season

While e-commerce is still a popular option for most consumers, brick-and-mortar retail thrives during the holiday season. The intersection of in-person and online shopping is omnichannel retail. Omni-channel includes brick-and-mortar, curbside pickup, in-store pickup, e-commerce, and more.

Make no mistake that consumers are tightening their budgets and becoming more discretionary in their spending. But they won’t let that get in the way of spreading holiday cheer. 

In fact, according to the National Retail Federation via Retail Dive, 62% of holiday shoppers agree that spending on presents and seasonal celebrations is a priority, even if they need to cut back in other areas in order to afford to celebrate, given higher prices and inflation.

Bottom line, consumers will still be making presents a priority, but they’ll be hunting for deals to do so. As a result, some consumers are getting an early jump on deals they spot now, while others might wait until later in the season in the hopes of major discounts. In-store retail is projected to thrive since many consumers will choose to shop in person to get things as quickly as possible. Of course, next-day and same-day delivery offerings will be widely utilized during peak season as well.

What this means for content marketers:

Omni-channel retail represents a plethora of opportunities in terms of both content and advertising. But if you deliver a disjointed customer experience, you risk losing a customer to the next brand in line. Get all of the subdivisions of your marketing team working in harmony to deliver a consistent, relevant stream of content and offers that convert across the entire customer experience. The landscape of holiday retail is constantly evolving, so staying up to date on how your specific customer base’s behavior is changing is crucial to success. 

Buy Now, Pay Later 

Given the continual tightening of household budgets amid inflation as of late, it comes as no surprise that BNPL (buy now pay later) is here to stay this holiday season. 

BNPL is an attractive option for consumers, especially younger millennials. In the months of the year when spending often skyrockets, BNPL helps consumers spread out their spending and provides flexibility without having to lean on a credit card. Not to mention, most BNPL options are interest-free which is especially tantalizing with rising interest rates. As flexible payment options like BNPL take flight, more and more retailers are looking into expanded payment options — like Amazon’s move to start accepting Venmo as a payment option this holiday season. 

What this means for content marketers:

This emerging trend is here to stay and reveals some significant insights about the consumers of today. Consumers are looking to become more cost-conscious, and are looking for strategies to help them do so. Meeting consumers where they are by providing resources on topics like savings, cost-cutting, financial responsibility, budgeting, etc. will establish a trusting relationship with consumers. 

Digital Content Is King

More and more companies are catching on to the value of digital media. Retailers in particular will be diving head first into creating and promoting more digital content this holiday season. Crafting content and partnering with influencers on emerging channels like TikTok will be a major focus for retailers, as well as new ad-supported tiers of your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. 

What this means for content marketers:

Take note of how your favorite brands are leaning into digital content to grab their audience’s attention in new ways. New channels and consumer trends are constantly emerging, but resist jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. Always consider which opportunities are not only worth investing your time and resources into but which are on-brand for you. 

Look for novel ways to leverage these opportunities as appropriate. As the landscape becomes even more flooded, your creativity will mark the difference between your content getting lost in the shuffle or standing out from the crowd.  

Check out all of the insights Industry Dive’s editors have to share about this holiday season. Watch the full virtual event on-demand

A Note From springboard’s Editors 

While we’re looking into what the future holds, we’d love to hear from you. Take our brief survey to share what content marketing trends, challenges, and adjustments you foresee for 2023.

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