What’s the Holiday Mood?

The Holidays are here!

We’re officially into the holiday season, so we thought we’d do a quick snapshot of a few related topics to see what’s shaping up in the holiday marketplace. Welcome to the season!

Did you get your gift guide out this week?
Crossing into November and with Halloween behind us, retailers and DTC players were on it this week seeding consumers’ minds with holiday gift giving ideas. So, if you didn’t know it, this is the week to have launched your gift guide. 

How does it look?

For retailers, The Gift Guide is a must this time of year. From a quick round-up of several we saw (see image below and link to see it bigger), we mapped which brands rocked it with a brand ownable look and fresh, contemporary creative compared to those that felt more generic.


The winners:

  • Artifact Uprising took a “press-worthy” angle, which isn’t necessarily new yet stood out vs. competition and takes advantage of influencers and social proof. Their presentation was excellent, as well, which is very on brand.
  • Anthropologie did it again, always doing a great job of creating a fresh, distinct, ownable look.
  • Tory Burch rocked it with the best I’ve seen so far—fun, original graphic illustrations combined with movement. Totally contemporary and on-point.
  • Interestingly, One Kings Lane was a mixed bag—in one of their executions they pulled off some contemporary creative, and yet in other executions it felt too everyday One Kings Lane and not special for holiday.

Other brands—from Fresh to Restoration Hardware to Rifle Paper Co.—were consistent with their visual language, but didn’t seem to create anything special for holiday. And then you had some brands that went totally generic and were very ho-hum. There’s definitely an opportunity for brands to raise their game. If you want to be remembered and standout, why not have a more ownable looking campaign for the season?

Why is this important?

We all know visuals are critical in today’s Instagram, Pinterest, non-reading consumer world. Ensuring those visuals are brand ownable is critical. How often do you scroll through an Instagram feed and feel like you are looking at the same brand? I just did an audit recently of Personal Care brands and found them all following a similar Instagram strategy—nothing unique.

You need to make sure your visuals are both Brand Ownable and Fresh to stand out in today’s visually noisy world.

What else are we expecting this holiday season?

The season is looking rosy. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF):
  • Total retail sales in November and December are forecasted to be up +4.3-4.8% vs. 2017, compared to +3.9% growth over the last 5 years.
When it comes to online sales according to predictions from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI):
  • Digital sales are projected to reach ~17% of total at $124.1 billion, a ~+15% increase, about on trend with the last two years growth.
  • Retailers with both brick-and-mortar and online channels tend to benefit more than just online players.
  • In-store pick-up is forecasted to grow, already seeing an uptick of +119% so far this year.
  • Over the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend, Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day with people shopping most in the evening from 7-10 p.m. PST.
  • Mobile will lead in driving retail visits, generating 57% and leading to 37% of purchases.
  • Smart digital assistants will likely be used most for product searches vs. actual purchase.
  • Surprisingly, social isn’t forecasted to be as big a driver of sales.
  • Experiences, like cruises and airline purchases, win big during this time. Who knew?!

Get the full forecast from their presentation.

And from Salesforce, here’s what we can expect:

  • Salesforce is more bullish on mobile than even ADI, predicting the most purchases will happen via such devices.
  • Personalized, AI-driven recommendations will drive 35% of revenue.
  • Cyber Week will drive almost 50% of sales.
  • Salesforce is also more favorable towards social driving traffic, especially Instagram.
  • Like us, Salesforce doesn’t believe that voice activated, digital assistants will be key this season beyond perhaps a lot of testing and fun use cases.

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