The vital impact of cashback, voucher and loyalty publishers on Christmas sales has been uncovered in new research from Rakuten Marketing.

Analysis of shopping habits across the group’s 400 brands indicates that publishers offering incentives to their users will drive nearly two thirds of all online fashion and accessory sales during the festive period. 

Bloggers chip in with a respectable total of 10%, which to Mark Haviland, Rakuten Marketing Europe MD, is reason enough for brands to target sites with purchase-driven audiences.

“Marketers should tap into trends to target customers with not only the right products but also on the devices and sites where they will be most receptive to buy,” he commented, adding that “understanding customers’” desires would be crucial to driving sales over Christmas. 

Men talk fashion

The Christmas party season is a major event for clothes retailers in general, and this winter will see consumers spending an average of £144 on fashion and accessories. 

Data from Rakuten reveals that men’s fashion is set to represent big business for stores over the party window as product discussions on social media unfold. 

Rakuten Marketing analysed over 10,000 tweets to find that 31.29% of posts related to ‘party season fashion’ made reference to men’s clothing. Haviland, who spoke to PerformanceIn earlier this year on the topic of multi-channel attribution, said menswear retailers can strike gold this Christmas with the right approach.

“For example, our research revealed that over half of male shoppers have dedicated shopping apps installed on their handsets. Brands shouldn’t underestimate the power of digital channels to influence this market; the experience within smartphones and apps are an essential factor in their decisions to buy,” he commented. 

Right message, right device

As well as taking note of social conversations and the rising use of mobile apps, there is a need for marketers to assess where their consumers are likely to end their path to purchase. 

Affiliates could be set to play a heightened role in encouraging Christmas sales this year as Haviland notes a 54% year-on-year rise in fashion and accessory purchases made through clicks to display ads in 2013. 

Not only this, smartphones saw a 54.5% rise in purchase growth last year compared to 2012 as consumers embraced shopping on the move. 

With fashion and accessory sales rising 35.6% year on year between 2012 and 2013, cross-device strategists will be hoping their research spawns another rise in 2014.