Forget the Pumpkin and Get Out That Holiday Wreath – We’re Already in Shopping Season!

By Reggie Shah, Senior Director, Research & Insights, Audacy

Do you love when your barista hands you a holiday themed cup before the leaves have finished falling? Or do you cringe when the kids start prepping their wish lists before they’ve chosen their Halloween costumes? Either way, there’s no getting around it—it’s October, and the holiday shopping season is well underway. 

According to dentsu Consumer Navigator, 33% of consumers plan to start this year’s holiday shopping earlier than last year. Gen Z and Millennials bump that number up to nearly half1.

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So if you’re not already telling shoppers about your holiday promotions, the time to start is now—right now. 

Here are three things you should know about expected 2023 holiday shopping behaviors to make the most of this increasingly long, increasingly wonderful time of the year. 

What’s the deal?

Holiday shoppers plan to spend the same—or more—than they did last year. But they’re still looking for bargains. 

Just about all shoppers are concerned about inflation’s effect on the price of holiday shopping, and more than half are more concerned than they were last year. “Same price as last year” messaging might be worth considering. 

Look for Amazon Prime Day in October and Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November to score a big share of holiday shopping purchases as well. 

And while their hearts may be at small or minority-owned businesses, their wallets are trending firmly toward retailers that offer discounts, better prices, and perks such as loyalty rewards and free shipping and returns.

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Who made the ‘nice’ list? 

Consumers will be buying gifts for family members, friends—and, especially among the younger crowd—themselves. That’s called self-gifting.

In addition to their loved ones’ wish lists, they’ll be looking to Amazon, browsing in-store (if they’re older), and stalking Instagram and TikTok (if they’re Gen Z or Millennials) for gift inspiration.  

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But word of mouth is a powerful driver of where the money goes, and families and friends will have the most influence on what ends up in holiday shopping carts. A recent study by Engagement Labs shows that Radio drives a whopping 4.7 billion brand conversations a week—more than any other media channel—advertising on Radio can increase your chances of being part of those gifting conversations, and those gifting purchases2

Sleigh bells ring – are you listening? 

We used sonic testing to explore what creative works best for the holidays, and the results were both impressive and festive.   

We compared sets of various auto ads that ran during the 2022 holiday season—one set of creatives with just  voiceovers, and the others with the same voiceovers backed by jingling bells and other holiday sounds. And just like that one-horse open sleigh dashing through the snow, the ads with the holiday background sprinted ahead of the non-holiday versions, and also ahead of Veritonic’s benchmarks3

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So go ahead—buy more Halloween candy than you’ll give out to the neighborhood kids. Invite the family to Thanksgiving and the gang to Friendsgiving. Make a fruitcake if you really want to. But first, make your holiday creative, check it twice, and get it on the Radio to help fill this year’s bottom line with holiday cheer. 

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

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SOURCES

1 Dentsu Consumer Navigator: Holiday Shopping 2023

2 Brand Conversations: Engagement Labs TotalSocial, August 2022 – July 2023

3 Sonic Testing: Ten ads tested using Veritonic Predictive Audio Score

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