Preparing for the holiday season already? With the continuing shifts of online shopping and transactions happening currently, consumers are taking the chance now to spend their income online ahead of the holiday period.

According to new research from Rakuten Advertising, over 70% of shoppers do not plan to decrease spend on holiday shopping this year. Meanwhile, 87% are set to shop for holidays such as Christmas and 57% plan to purchase during key shopping peaks, such as Black Friday.

The online survey was carried out in June-July 2020 with a sample size of 8,673 respondents across the globe in countries including the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the US.

In the UK, the majority (42%) of shoppers look set to spend the same amount as last year on their holiday purchases with 27% looking to increase their spend on people in their immediate family.

This lack of intent to curb spending during peak shopping periods is good news for brands and retailers, presenting an opportunity to drive revenue success in the second half of the year, after a challenging start to 2020 and the impact of COVID-19.

Priorities have shifted

There’s no denying that the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has shifted consumer priorities when it comes to shopping online.

Since the start of the pandemic, 49% of UK consumers have decreased their monthly spending – a far more cautious position to contemporaries in Germany (28%) and France (33%) – and moved investment away from conventionally “fun” purchases to essentials. 

The survey also found that UK consumers decreased their spending on travel (81%), restaurant and delivery (60%) and more luxurious items such as jewellery (57%) and apparel (59%). However, there was increased spending on the likes of groceries (54%) and digital entertainment (35%).

The UK shopper also demonstrated a savvy shift to purchasing more online, with many consumers shopping via e-commerce for the first time.

Approximately 65% of consumers have shopped more online since the outbreak of COVID-19, a change of behaviour that looks set to stick far into the second half of 2020, and presents huge opportunities for brands to engage with “new-to-online” consumers. 

Online becoming the new normal

There still remains concerns around public health with 32% of shoppers expressed desires to avoid large crowds, a mindset shift that is driving consumers online to purchase.

73% of UK consumers are also looking to buy primarily online this holiday peak, and of online purchases, 54% plan to purchase on their mobile.

As buyers move to buy on mobile, employing effective mobile strategies during peak shopping periods has never been more essential for brands in converting consumers.

“Now is the time for brands to embrace mobile in-app tracking and accurately reward publishers for driving mobile sales. In-app tracking enables advertisers to track in-app conversions and effectively enhance their campaigns for mobile app users,” said Anthony Capano, managing director, International at Rakuten Advertising.

“By employing in-app tracking, brands can better understand and track mobile activity and consumer behaviour with the view of optimising the consumer experience wherever they are shopping.”

Catch up on PerformanceIN’s in-app tracking panel session featuring Rakuten Advertising and more on how brands can better employ in-app tracking to track mobile activity.

What does holiday shopping look like now?

According to the survey, 38% of UK shoppers plan to shop for six or more people at holiday peaks, and a potential slide back into lockdown will not phase the foolhardy consumer.

Should society face a second wave of restrictions, 51% of shoppers have said they do not plan to decrease their holiday spend. This determination to continue as normal and not let COVID impact Christmas is reflected globally with 54% of consumers saying there will be no change to their spend for key shopping dates in the first half of 2021 either, including Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.

In addition, holiday shoppers are prioritising who they purchase for. Sales and discounts will be the most influential factor (47%) driving holiday purchases in the UK this year, with 32% of consumers planning to change when they shop to save more money.

For brands, cashback and rewards will be an empowering tool to incentivise shoppers to invest.

“By working with affiliate publishers that reward consumers for shopping, brands can encourage repeat purchases. AI tools are available that allow publishers to serve personalised ads and offers based on past shopping behaviours. By working together, they can drive a better experience for the consumer and increase engagement,” Capano concluded.