Part II: Drive Profits by Understanding Catalysts for Holiday Spend Patterns

In Part I of this series, we discussed strategies for reaching the value-driven consumer. Today, we will explore the mind of the consumer by analyzing shoppers' historical spending patterns and highlighting the best dates to focus on targeting the cost-focused vs. convenience-driven consumers.

Targeting Cost-Focused Customers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, which falls on November 29th this year, has traditionally been one of the busiest shopping days of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers. Today, many customers are looking for Black Friday savings online as well; online Black Friday spending reached at $531M in 2007 [1].

Cyber Monday, which falls on December 1st in 2008, is the online retailers' response to Black Friday. It takes place on the Monday following Thanksgiving, and last year, consumers' enthusiastic response brought in $733M in additional online consumer spending [1].

Historically, consumers have been particularly receptive to shopping on websites that advertise for Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, and this year, given the current economic mood, more consumers are actively seeking deals and using the online marketplace to find them. In fact, in a survey from Harris Interactive, 54 % of respondents noted that limited-time offers such as sales or free shipping would significantly influence their decisions, and, in certain instances, might cause theme to buy immediately rather than continue shopping around.

This year, in order to match consumer mood, retailers are heavily leveraging discounts and promotions. In a recent survey, more than a quarter of retailers said they would increase online marketing of Black Friday promotions this year, while 84% said they will host special Cyber Monday sales--a 12% increase from last year.

To maximize profits, retailers also might consider targeting Generation Y, one of the brightest spots this holiday season. Having never experienced a real recession, Generation Y (13-26) tends to be fashion-forward and impulsive. Further, according to Maritz Holiday Shopping Poll 2008, this generation doesn't plan on cutting back on holiday spend and are the most likely to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Green Monday Targeting: The Convenience Shopper:

Green Monday, the second Monday in December, is the date when consumers make their last-minute purchases online so they can be shipped in time to reach loved ones around the country in time for Christmas. Green Monday, which will fall on December 8th this year (if you go by the definition that Green Monday is the second Monday in December), set a record in 2007 as the heaviest online spending date in history with $881 million in sales.

So let’s think about this year’s calendar and what will motivate shoppers in this critical period. According to a recent AdWeek poll, the number one reason why consumers purchase online, rather than in stores, remains convenience. The 2008 calendar will likely prompt additional online convenience shopping this holiday season; there are five fewer shopping days than last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas which creates a shorter shopping window for buyers who don’t start making their holiday purchases until after Thanksgiving.

The last-minute shoppers would like their online buying experience to be fast, convenient, and easy, after all, in the highly connected world where we live, they are likely multi-tasking as they buy. Shopping at work is also becoming increasingly commonplace; the National Retail Federation says that 55.8% of workers with Internet access, or about 73 million people, plan to do their shopping from the comfort of their own cubicle.

Additionally, despite the economy, according to a study by Harris Interactive, we can expect some impulse buying this holiday season from the convenience shopper. Fifty-nine percent of online shoppers would be likely to make an impulse shopping decision if they saw something online that is perfect for someone they know and more than 50% plan to take advantage of promotions and sales to buy something for themselves this holiday season.

Source: [1]comScore