Christmas in July? Shopping search trends reveal windows of opportunity for brands

Jul 31, 2019 | Ads, E-commerce, Search

Monday marks the beginning of Christmas shopping season, according to new insights released by eBay Advertising, kickstarting a fruitful five months for brands.

Searches for “Christmas” in the DVD, Films and TV category on shot up by almost two thirds (63%) during the second week of August last year, compared to the week before – proving it’s never too early to think about Christmas. In fact, shoppers made two searches for “Christmas” every second on eBay in August – some 4 months before the day itself.

And the festive film flurry appears to be starting earlier each year, with this initial surge having taken place in August’s third week in 2017 and fourth week in 2016 – suggesting the mid-summer months are the perfect time to engage consumers with top of the funnel inspiration.

Sustainable Santa

Shoppers appear to be dreaming of a green, rather than white, Christmas – no doubt a product of the well-documented ‘Attenborough Effect’. Searches for “reusable straws” and “reusable coffee cup” soared between 2017 and 2018 – up 375% and 257% respectively from the second half of one year to the other – highlighting the spend to be won by brands that adapt to societal trends.

And it’s not just millennials seeking to save the planet, as shoppers aged 18-34 accounted for just 23% of searches for “reusable coffee cups”, with over 35s providing the other 77% in the second half of 2018.

2019 Christmas Tracker

To help marketers get a head start with planning their Christmas campaigns, eBay Advertising has launched its 2019 Christmas Tracker – predicting the peak windows of opportunity across categories:

Finding the right Christmas party outfit is top of shoppers’ to do lists, as Instagram culture puts even greater pressure on consumers to look picture perfect during the festive season.

‘Christmas’ searches in the Clothes, Shoes and Accessories category on shot up in the second week of October, up 107% compared to the month before. And interest in the category peaked in early December and remained significant until the week before Christmas, giving brands in this space the earliest and longest window of opportunity to engage.

From going out to staying in, shoppers are also looking to create a cosy home, with ‘Christmas’ searches in the Home, Furniture and DIY category surging through November. Consumers prepping to settle in for the winter months increased searches in the category by 17% in the third week of November last year, compared to the previous week, showing a rapid rise in interest as Christmas gets closer.

While consumers prepare their homes for friends and family early, the Computers/Tablets and Networking category saw one of the latest surges in ‘Christmas’ searches through the Christmas period. With Black Friday 2018 taking place w/c 19th November, our findings are consistent with the notion that shoppers buy for themselves during the Black Friday weekend before returning their focus to gift buying the week after.

Mike Klinkhammer, Director of Advertising Sales EU, eBay, commented: “Consumers are thinking about Christmas earlier and earlier each year, and the beloved festive film is a perfect indicator of when this merry mindset begins. Shopping might not be top of the agenda at this stage, but marketers can reap significant reward if they maximise this time to inspire consumers.

“We’re seeing what’s almost a 70-day window for shoppers looking at Christmas items, but each category has varying starts, finishes and peak weeks. With that in mind, a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing during this time will ultimately be ineffective. Marketers need to tailor their approach according to consumer behaviour, whether that’s kicking things off early to cater for summer searches or running advertising campaigns for longer than usual to target last minute shoppers.”

“Our insights have also shown a rise in new shopping trends, such as more ecological shopping behaviour. Brands should ensure they have access to up-to-date insights to help them mould their marketing strategy, as consumer behaviour continues to change and evolve year on year.”

Pauline Robson, Managing Partner, MediaCom, commented: “Brands should certainly consider an early start for their marketing efforts if they want to take advantage of consumers in a festive frame of mind. By using a combination of search, display and paid social channels to share early messaging through the summer months, brands can lay the groundwork for a more effective fourth quarter where shopping tends to pick up. Advertisers can then re-engage them with more tailored, product-led ads based on previously viewed items – safe in the knowledge that potential customers will be familiar with their brand and offer from an outreach earlier in the year.”

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