Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Thanks to a study by Facebook IQ, SA brands have some inspiration of their own to use when it comes to their holiday strategies.  Facebook IQ’s 2016 holiday outlook study is based on research that looks at holiday shopping trends in 2015, using Facebook internal data, as well as insights on how people shop in the holiday season, based on a survey Facebook commissioned Ipsos to undertake.

Mobile, the study reveals, is this year’s helper – and a way to ensure that brands can capitalise on the usual holiday season hiccups.  From consumers who leave their shopping later than planned to those who don’t know what to buy or where to buy it, or even those who are looking to gift themselves, mobile is set to be the place where shoppers find their gift inspiration and share shopping tips.

According to Facebook, online purchases in the US in 2015 that were visible on its platform increased 33% above the previous year. To research the changing role of technology in global holiday celebrations from November 2015 to January 2016 Facebook and Instagram data was analysed by Ipsos, which was commissioned to study the holiday habits and attitudes of 25,511 people aged over 18 in 17 countries.

The research revealed that holiday to-do lists remain the same from year to year, but how we navigate them is different. More people are using digital – especially mobile – to connect and to shop. Findings show that 80% of people post digital greetings and posts, as well as photos and video. The opportunity here for brands is to celebrate where their consumers are celebrating, it says – through mobile and video posts showcasing thumb-stopping creative that positions them top of mind among the shopping community.

Another trend revealed that despite the best of intentions, most people seldom get round to completing their holiday shopping as early as planned. In fact, 54% of people surveyed admit that they do their shopping in December. It is here that brands can make life easier for shoppers with last-minute deals and quick online delivery times that take the pain out of braving shopping centres on Christmas Eve.

The study revealed a trend of buying “one for you, one for me” – 52% of people buy gifts for themselves over the holiday season. Clever brands will encourage two-for-one offers to leverage off this trend, based on the understanding that, as the report says, holiday shopping often leads to impulse purchases and the need to get something special for the holiday season.

Making holiday messaging mobile is key, and brands will do well to have a presence on social media platforms. The study reveals that people who make online mobile purchases are especially likely to turn to Facebook or Instagram for gift inspiration and ideas – particularly in the millennial market.

Even SA brands are being affected by the phenomenon of shopping on Black Friday – the official start of the US holiday season, marked by huge sales. Countries leading the way in terms of Black Friday shopping are Brazil, USA, SA and South Korea. One out of four respondents on average globally say they shop on Black Friday; creating an ideal opportunity for brands to introduce special offers and promotions.

The big take-out: Facebook IQ has released a holiday outlook study that investigates holiday shopping behaviour and outlining opportunities for brands, especially in the mobile arena.

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