7 ways brands can connect with customers who are using tech to simplify the holidays

December 17, 2021 | By Rebecca Fontana, Sr. Editorial Manager

From planning holiday travel to hosting family, customers are using more online resources to help them craft a memorable holiday season. Since there are so many ways costumers plan and celebrate the holidays, brands have an opportunity to reach and engage customers across their shopping, streaming, and entertainment journeys. In 2020, online retail sales increased 30%, and brands have the opportunity to meet these customers at various stages of their holiday shopping experience this year as well.1 Here are seven trends we’re seeing with holiday shoppers and how brands may be able to better help them this season.

1) Customers plan to shop online

Online shopping remains a popular option for many customers. After a boom in online sales during 2020, the trend is continuing into 2021. This year, 64% of US consumers and 65% of UK consumers said they’re planning to do at least 40% of their holiday shopping online, according to a Kantar and Amazon Ads study.2 Brands may want to continue their holiday marketing campaigns well into the season so they can stay top of mind for customers who are still gift shopping. In fact, 67% of holiday shoppers continue making purchases after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.3


2) Consumers are ready for a vacation

In 2021, travel sites have seen a 32% increase in visits year over year.4 Whether traveling for the holidays or vacations, more customers are planning trips, and brands may have the opportunity help these shoppers research their trips with informative marketing campaigns. According to a recent study, 34% of Amazon customers prefer to book travel based on value.5 Brands may consider reaching these shoppers by highlighting seasonal sales and packages with advertising solutions like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Displays, and Sponsored Brands.

Aeroplane flying between clouds

3) Party planning is taking place online

A key area of interest for customers this holiday season is party planning. Sales of party supplies more than doubled year over year as of April 2021, and tableware and party decorations are now some of the top-selling product categories. Brands offering party supplies may want to consider using sponsored ads to reach customers looking for party supplies this year.

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4) Cooking is still hot

Customers are using technology as their sous chefs in the kitchen. Audio devices are helping customers get the information they need when their hands are busy chopping, mixing, and sautéing. Devices such as Amazon’s Echo can help customers set timers, look up nutritional information, and guide them through recipes. During these screen-free moments, brands can also reach audiences through Audio ads on Amazon Music’s free ad-supported tier.

Basket with groceries

5) Gift cards are a great option

Gift cards are a way for companies to encourage customers to consider shopping at both their online and physical stores. In 2020, online sales of gift cards nearly doubled. Brands can use gift cards as part of creating a comprehensive shopping experience, and creating a Store or launching an Amazon Live stream can also help immerse customers in the brand’s product offerings.

Dollar plant in hand

6) It’s time for holiday-themed shows and music

It’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with a holiday movie and cup of cocoa, and brands can show up alongside the holiday content that viewers are enjoying through Streaming TV ads. For example, IMDb TV offers a selection of holiday movies including A Christmas Carol, Jingle Bells, and Die Hard. Brands can also show up where customers are listening to holiday music through Audio Ads on Amazon Music’s free ad-supported tier.

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7) Customers are shopping for themselves

One of the recipients on customers’ gift lists may surprise you: Almost 20% of Amazon’s frequent toy shoppers say they buy toys for their own enjoyment.6 Brands and marketers may want to connect with these shoppers, especially in areas like athleisure, since sales increased 50% year over year in 2021, and outdoor furniture, with sales nearly doubling year over year.7 Brands might want to consider messaging that resonates with these shoppers in their holiday advertising campaigns. As customers simplify their holiday season, brands may want to reach these customers where they already are, whether that’s streaming their favorite Christmas movies or following a cooking recipe in the kitchen. As online shopping continues to be popular with holiday shoppers, advertisers and marketers may want to consider optimizing their marketing campaigns for the season in order to help these customers discover the perfect gift for their loved ones, or even themselves.

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1 Forrester 2021 Online U.S. Retail Forecast
2-3 Kantar Quickfire survey, US. 500 participants who have shopped during the Q4 2019/2020 holiday season and plan to do so in 2021.
4-5 Kantar and Amazon Ads Quickfire holiday survey of 500 participants, US, 2021
6 Kantar custom toy shopper study, US, April 2020
7 The Nielsen Total Audience Report, March 2021