Holiday retail information and search marketing tips

As the holiday season shifts into high gear, retailers are hoping the UK public will celebrate by opening their wallets for the biggest mainstream event on the calendar. While it has been a tough few years for retailers, consumers have been resilient during the holiday season with significant spending.

The latest data suggests UK buyers may be ready to spend big once again this year. In this article, we take a look at the key insights into consumer attitudes from Google search and other sources, and how it can inform your search marketing strategy for the holiday season.

UK retail interest up + 24%

According to Google research data, overall search interest in retail is up + 24% from November 2019 and + 0.4% week-on-week. This marks a -1.7% drop from Covid’s rebound in November 2020, but the numbers are impressive given the current inflation rate in the UK.

Last year, a majority of UK shoppers said they also expected to spend more for Christmas 2020 than in previous years.

Data suggests consumers are ready to spend big this Christmas, but buying decisions could be very different. While Covid-19 has sparked a wave of home and garden improvements, searches are down -12.9% from 2020 and consumer electronics even more, -13%.

The largest increases are in clothing research (+ 16.2%) and health research (+ 7.3%) as consumer interests evolve. It appears that people are, once again, more interested in looking their best and this is supported by beauty searches up + 14.3% from November 2019.

UK consumer confidence increases in November 2021

In 2020, the British public defied concerns about Christmas spending, giving the economy a much needed boost in the most difficult year in modern times. Britons are bracing for the unexpected once again, according to Market Watch’s latest consumer confidence report.

Despite inflation hitting a 10-year high of 4.2%, consumer confidence actually rose in November, from minus 17 to minus 14 in October.

This means consumer confidence is higher than expected and significantly higher than last year, when the UK faced foreclosure restrictions and the possibility of Christman being ‘canceled’.

As the UK economy is clearly losing momentum and the rebound from easing restrictions earlier this year wears off, the public continues to show determination on retail spending.

UK among top countries for e-commerce penetration

Consumer surveys show that over the past two weeks UK consumers have made 34% of their purchases online, maintaining their place among the top e-commerce penetration markets.

In fact, declines in other markets mean the UK is currently the number one country in the Western world for online shopping, showing resilience for online spending even after the economy has opened up.

The UK was already the top country in Europe for e-commerce penetration before the pandemic, but many countries have seen declines as economies open up this year. However, UK shoppers continue to spend heavily online, and Google data shows a dramatic increase in UK shoppers planning their purchases online before going to a store.

Of the 61% of purchases made at retail stores in the past two weeks, 60% of shoppers prepared a list before going to the store after researching shopping ideas online. As a result, 16% of consumers in the country say they have discovered new brands or stores by researching shopping inspirations online.

YouTube, a major channel for shopping inspiration

According to a 2020 consumer survey by Talk Shoppe, YouTube is an established shopping inspiration channel in the UK.

Here’s a summary of some of the key stats:

  • 34% of UK viewers use YouTube to see a product demo before buying
  • 33% of UK viewers say YouTube is the place to find out more about brands, products or services
  • 29% of UK YouTube viewers make an online purchase after watching a video
  • 19% of UK YouTube viewers make an offline purchase after watching a video

The same survey found that 51% of UK viewers made a purchase after seeing an advertisement on YouTube, with the highest conversion rates being tech (19%) and home (13%) versus an average of 12%.

Christmas lights lead to increased traffic on the streets

Footfall to UK retail destinations rose 1.5% in the week starting November 8, with Christmas lights turning on throughout the week being attributed to the increase. Even higher jumps were seen on Friday 12 November, which is a popular day for many cities to light up their Christmas displays, leading to an 11.7% increase in footfall on main streets across the UK.

Shopping streets and malls benefited the most from the increase in footfall, while shopping parks saw significantly lower increases and, at times, declines from the previous week. The decline in shopping parks is also attributed to the switching on of Christmas lights and displays, most of which take place in city centers, shopping streets and malls.

The overall increase in footfall could provide an early indicator that shoppers in the UK are ready for a busy period of festive shopping.

While this is hardly conclusive, it is a positive sign when interest in retail research is also up + 23.9% from 2019 and consumer confidence rose in November. , despite all the media coverage of inflation rates.

How can retailers use this information for the holiday season?

Based on the information we’ve reviewed in this article, there are several things retailers can take to maximize holiday revenue this year:

  • Make full use of research data: Keep track of research data throughout the holiday season to understand what interests consumers most and what concerns them most – all the answers you need are in this data.
  • Online shopping : Make sure customers can find you online and buy from your website or through online channels, such as Amazon and eBay.
  • Product lists: Show Shopping ads in Google Ads and free product listings in Google Search to promote your most requested and seasonal items.
  • Bridge the online and offline divide: Allow people to find your store and products online with the ability to complement in-store purchase with reservations, pickups and pickups.
  • Deliveries: For online purchases, offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery dates, tracked shipping, and other incentives to reassure people that they will receive their items on time.
  • Inspire purchases: Use online channels to inspire buying decisions, including content in organic search, YouTube content / ads, and other inspiring platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok.
  • Promote local inventories: Use in-store product announcements and “in-stock” labels on product listings to show local shoppers that you have the items they’re looking for, in stock and ready to buy.
  • Remarketing: Keep your offers on the minds of buyers by running remarketing ads on the Display Network.

A key lesson from the pandemic is that an online presence is crucial for retailers. Despite the easing of restrictions, people still do much of their shopping online, and the majority of consumers research shopping ideas before they take to the streets, even when shopping in-store.

This is a crucial idea because it tells us that retailers not only need a platform to sell online, but also channels to capture the interest of buyers while they are in the phase. research and planning of the purchasing process.

For retailers who already have e-commerce websites, the priority is to optimize the experience to maximize online sales and bridge the gap between online and offline interactions, if you are also selling in-store.

Consumers turn to research when they’re looking for inspiration and bridge that gap with services that make the buying process easier, such as free shipments and in-store pickups, help shoppers buy from you. according to their preferred conditions.

Does your search marketing strategy need a Christmas boost?

If your search marketing strategy isn’t ready to take full advantage of the Christmas season this year, you may still have some time to implement some quick fixes that will make the difference in your revenue reporting for 2021.


Brandon D. James