Based on data from the Facebook Seasonal Holidays Study by YouGov, here are seven of the trends that have been picked up and what they mean for marketers:

1. Generation X and Boomers lead growth in digital shopping

Generations X and Boomers increasingly turned to technology to navigate the pandemic — whether it was using video and social media to stay connected with adult children or their grandchildren, or shopping online for essentials under lockdown.

For the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the number of Boomer Christmas shoppers surveyed who use mobile for discovery, research and purchase has grown by 77% on average from 2018 to 2019. For Generation X, the growth rate is 55%.

What this means for marketers is that they must take friction out of the path to purchase for new digital shoppers. They must also focus on enabling shoppers to shop for what they want, where they want and when they want.

For example, they must enable customers to interact with their brand using familiar instant messaging apps or to order straight from a social media platform.

2. Shoppers will get therapy from self-gifting and seasonal shopping

Even in challenging times, people find ways to stay positive and reward themselves. In past recessions, affordable luxuries such as lipstick, nail polish and ice cream have proven popular.

This offers great opportunities for businesses and it's an ideal time for self-gifting amid the sales season offers. Around 74% of adult shoppers surveyed in South Africa research gifts for themselves across the Christmas period.

What this means for marketers is that they should help people discover the things they'll love using tools like dynamic ads to connect with them.

3. People are more receptive to new products and services

While COVID-19 has disrupted lives, people are becoming more open to trying new products and services like grocery delivery. This holiday season, people will likely be even more receptive as they look for ways to adapt to the new normal and seek better products, services and activities that are more convenient to them.

Some 72% of shoppers surveyed in South Africa said they explore new products more during the holidays than the rest of the year. This is a time to attract attention and reach new audiences with immersive and engaging visual storytelling ads and branded content.

4. The economic downturn will expedite the rise of mega-sales

With COVID-19 affecting families and their finances, people will be more sensitive to price and turn to e-commerce to avoid crowds; mega-sales days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and post-Christmas sales have been top of mind.

Some 60% of Christmas shoppers surveyed in South Africa bought something during mega-sales events and the data indicates that they are likely to be high spenders.

Sales can be a great way to accelerate buying. Think about how to continue driving value for customers by stretching out the sales period up to Christmas. Use your Black Friday data to retarget in the lead-up to Christmas and tap into automation and machine learning on programmatic advertising platforms to help your product find the right person at the right price.

5. The new value equation is affordability, authenticity and action

People care as much about the actions businesses take as they do about price. They seek authentic, informative content from businesses. Social responsibility and brand authenticity are more influential than ever.

People want to understand your business, what you stand for and be proud to support you. The top content Christmas shoppers in South Africa want to see from businesses on Facebook and Instagram include:
  • updates on offers and sales (48%)
  • informative (45%), and
  • real / authentic (45%).
This season, focus on building your brand and showcase how your brand has helped to support the community.

6. Rising customer expectations

In light of everything that has happened throughout 2020, people will feel grateful for what they have and treasure time spent with family and friends. However, they also have higher expectations from brands in terms of personalisation, purpose and authenticity.

This year, brands that get it right have the opportunity to be part of people’s stories as we navigate this challenging year and reconnect with loved ones.

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