Digital Audio

Our Biggest Predictions for the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

Liz Lacey, Vice President, B2B MarketingOct 7, 2020

The phrase “Home for the Holidays” has never rang more true. And while we continue to adjust to 2020’s changes, we’re already beginning to see the impact on how consumers and brands are preparing for the biggest time of the year.

However, no matter life’s adjustments, one thing has remained constant: the role of music in our lives. Music will continue to be an essential part of holiday celebrations. We know this because our listeners told us; in a recent survey, 7 in 10 said music gets them in the holiday spirit and enhances the atmosphere.1

A major benefit of audio advertising is that your brand can be part of that holiday spirit. Below are 7 need-to-know predictions going into the end of year shopping season, and how you can stay ahead of the curve and connect with consumers with audio.

Couch shopping on the rise

Prediction: Although lockdown measures are lifting, the effects are set to shake up the retail scene throughout the rest of the year. The pandemic has led consumers to spend a record amount of time online and e-commerce sales are expecting to spike to a whopping $182 billion—$196 billion from November to January.2 Retailer/Brand Opportunity: Brands and retailers can deliver timely messages to shoppers throughout the entire purchase cycle—from browsing through to purchase. Audio Solution: Meet Shoppers at any and every stage of the shopping process by utilizing a wide range of audio advertising formats such as: -Sponsorships/takeovers for awareness and build branding -Dynamic audio for localization/personalization -Audience segmentation for precision marketing -In-language for cultural relevance

Did someone say deals?!

Prediction: Prior to the pandemic, many consumers associated Black Friday and Cyber Monday moments as peak buying days where you score the best deals. With concerns around scarcity, shipping delays, safety, and economic financial constraints, people will start their holiday shopping even earlier, resulting in more on-going purchasing vs. sales spikes. Retailer/Brand Opportunity: Retailers and brands can kick start holiday shopping as consumers look for deals and value early. With retail site traffic levels at an all time high, consumers who are searching for bargains will likely be open to spending more if they can find a good deal. Audio Solution: Use dynamic audio as a way to deliver timely promotional messages within appropriate localized markets.

Shopping Spree in October

Prediction: That’s right: the Holiday season is starting even earlier this year. Amazon has decided to push its annual Prime Day mega sale from July to October 13-14. This will create a new “shopping moment” ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and is projected to capture 10% of cyber weekly revenue (scheduled 45 days later). Retailer/Brands Opportunity: Hey Retailers, don’t sit out Prime Day. According to Salesforce research, 51% of retailers in Internet Retailer's (IR) 2019 Top 500 advertised a sale during Prime Week, whether in their email marketing or on their ecommerce homepage. Take advantage of the visibility and demand created by this manufactured holiday to pull traffic and sales to your properties. Audio Solution: Audio can be a flexible media channel to quickly ramp and scale around Amazon’s Prime Day event to capture seasonal shopper demand.

Keepin’ It Local

Prediction: Shoppers will come together more so than in previous years to support small and medium sized businesses this holiday. With the national launch of Small Business Saturday (November 28) this annual holiday celebrates small business and encourages consumers to shop locally at the start of the holiday shopping season. Retailer/Brands Opportunity: Small and medium size retailers should plan to participate in SBS holiday as a way to draw attention to SMB importance in our economy. This holiday is a clear win for small businesses, but consumers benefit as well by finding great new local products and services and supporting their local economies. When shopping locally, $68 for every $100 stays in the community, as opposed to $43 when shopping non-locally. Audio Solution: Audio serves as a way to promote your Small Business Saturday messages and goods for sale at a local level to your community and drive sales.

Drive-through Shopping

Prediction: Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and omnichannel has been trending for years now, but this holiday will be seminal. Although fewer shoppers are visiting physical locations, stores remain an important asset to enable contactless fulfillment via store pickup — curbside, inside, or drive-through. Retailer/Brand Opportunity: Promote the benefits of contact-free shopping and the convenience of curbside pickup to build shopper confidence and buying needs. Audio Opportunity: Use audio as an effective vehicle to deliver reminder messages of the convenience and simplicity of contactless fulfillment opportunity.

Making a Plan, Checking It Twice

Prediction: If marketing during the pandemic is any indication, holiday media buying will center around efficient and measurable reach. This holiday will be even more important for marketers to focus on audience segmentation and targeting to reach the right customers, in the right location, at the right time. Retailer/brand Opportunity: Plan early, but anticipate the need to be flexible and nimble, as the holiday landscape evolves; invest in environments that offer buying flexibility through programmatic channels and the ability to scale audience reach across multiple placements. Audio Opportunity: Programmatic audio advertising allows for efficient, real-time buying at-scale across audio, video, and display.

Authenticity + Affordability = The Key to Messaging Success

Prediction: There will need to be a more delicate balance between brand (empathy and emotion) and discounts (demand and margin) this year, as consumers adjust to the “new normal”. Beyond competitive prices, people care about the businesses they love, the people behind them and the actions they take, especially now. Social responsibility and brand authenticity are more influential than ever. Retailer/brand Opportunity: As the pandemic continues to disrupt the industry, it will be important to adjust messaging as customer demands and market conditions change. The opportunity to authentically communicate what you stand for—helping shoppers understand your business—will ultimately influence their decision on whether or not they’ll support. Audio Opportunity: Sound is a powerful, meaningful method of emotional connection— intertwined throughout our days and connecting us to ourselves, our families and those around us. Use audio as an effective tool to deliver authentic messages that break through and resonate.

It’s true that the holiday season will look a little different this year. But, one thing we can look forward to is it sounding the same. As the familiar melodies of Mariah Carey and sleigh bells fill the air, audio will now and forever be a powerful way to reach consumers, no matter where they are and what their shopping preferences might be.

Ready to join in on the holiday spirit? Learn more about our products or contact us here.

Source: Pandora Soundboard, Holiday Study, A18+ (N=2,353), September 2020 Deloitte Annual Holiday Retail Forecast, Released Sept 15, 2020

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