Holiday shopping is big business this year!

Robust Holiday Shopping Projected

A healthy economy and increased consumer confidence should result in an increase in holiday spending over 2016.

Consumers are signaling a 4% increase in their holiday spend this year to an average of $936 per household, says Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, Inc., a New York City-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy that conducts an annual survey.

Black Friday is no longer the official kickoff of the season. Consumers are making decisions and plan to shop even earlier than in previous years. Retailers have recognized shifts in the timing of shopping and will try to capitalize on them by kicking off Black Friday-like sales even earlier than in previous years, Passikoff says.

Last year 41% of consumers reported shopping before Black Friday. This year that number has increased significantly, with just over half the consumers (51%) reporting they had already shopped or intended to do so before Black Friday, a shopping period known as Black November. Super Saturday has overtaken Black Friday in actual sales, Passikoff says. Black Friday is fast becoming a relic of 20th century retailing, according to the 11,625 shoppers who participated in the 2017 Brand Keys survey.

“Black Friday will be with us forever, but it has already morphed into more of a ‘family tradition,’” Passikoff tells Marketing Daily. “It’s become something families do after they celebrate Thanksgiving. Nothing cements the feeling of Thanksgiving and contentment like the whole family standing around a freezing parking lot at midnight waiting for the discount store to open.”

A smaller percentage of consumers (20%, down 5% year over year) have indicated they are actually shopping on Black Friday. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of respondents indicated that they will holiday shop in December, the largest specific shopping period identified by consumers in the 2017 Brand Keys survey.

Virtually all consumers interviewed (98%) are buying online again this year. Its no secret that brick-and-mortar retailers have had more difficult times engaging customers over the past five years, says Passikoff. They’ve been trying to forestall the online assault with better reward programs and low-lower-lowest pricing schemes, but consumers are on to that, he adds.

Online has become the default venue for browsing, promotions, price checking and, ultimately, buying holiday gifts. Consumers again intend to use multiple venues to shop this year. More consumers are shopping at specialty and apparel stores this year.

“Specialty and apparel stores always benefit from an increase in anticipated holiday spend,” Passikoff says. “Consumers are literally ‘trading up’ as regards the quality of the products and clothing they are looking to buy. Thus the venues that can provide those products benefit too.”

Catalogues are down again another 2% from last year. If a consumer can pull up the same content on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone, they regard hard-copy as redundant, Passikoff says.

Consumers are buying ore in all categories with the exception of electronics/phones/computers and sporting goods. Gift cards have become as universal as sending greetings in one form or another, with nearly everyone indicating they’ll buy at least one this year (95%).

“This year there has been an increased desire for better service generally and personalized service specifically,” Passikoff says. “You can’t get that at department or discount stores, no matter how hard those venues might wish it were so. Consumers already know how to find low prices. Retailers need to engage them with other aspects of their categories. Consumers are looking for some sort of ‘added value.’”

 Credit: Media Post

Is anyone even listening to the radio these days?

The radio industry has some new numbers to tout—and they are bold and beautiful. According to the just-released Nielsen “State of the Media Audio Today 2017” report, radio reaches more Americans than any other platform. That includes TV, mobile and PCs. As well, in March 2017, radio reached 125.4 million weekly consumers 18-49, up some 750,000 from the year previous.

“Radio is remarkably resilient. Despite the countless media and entertainment options available today, AM/FM radio continues to be the top weekly reach medium,” says Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio. As a result, “marketers and brand managers are rediscovering radio. It is a mass medium that can deliver targetability and message frequency in markets large and small.”

The airwaves’ weekly reach with adults is a robust 93%, according to the Nielsen report. With the 35-49 demographic, it is even higher, at 95%; and 92% with both 18-34 and 50+. In comparison, television reaches 89% of the adult population, smartphones reach 83%, PCs reach 50%, TV connected devices reach 44% and tablets reach 37%.

In addition to the previously referenced 125.4 million adults 18-49 that radio reaches in 2017, the tally of consumers aged 25-54 that the medium reaches weekly totals 117.9 million, and 67.8 million 18-34. All three figures have risen since 2016, with increases over 2015 for both 18-34 and 25-54.

Add to that radio’s innate diversity. State of the Media Audio reports that the Hispanic audience 12+ is 42.4 million. That is up from 41.1 million in 2016 and 40.4 million in 2015. With African-Americans 12+, the 2017 audience is 32.4 million, also showing marked year-over-year increases, from 31.7 million in 2016 and 31.3 million in 2015.

Kelly adds that consumers “tune in when and where it counts,” both outside the home and specifically, in the car as “a huge part of the radio ecosystem.” He says that this gives advertisers an opportunity to “uniquely deliver their message just prior to purchase.”

Ready to find out how traditional radio still packs a punch?