Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Bazaarvoice Report Reveals A Third Of Australians Start Holiday Shopping Before October

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Bazaarvoice has released its 2024 Australian Holiday Shopping Season Behaviour Report, offering key insights for marketers and retailers as they prepare for the holiday season. The survey, which included responses from 1,029 Australian consumers as part of a global study of over 8,000 participants, reveals that Australian holiday shoppers are beginning their preparations earlier than ever.

Over a third of Australians (32 per cent) begin their holiday shopping before the last quarter of the year, with 11 per cent starting from April to July. This early shopping trend pushes marketers and retailers to start their holiday campaigns much earlier while balancing the risk of appearing overly aggressive.

What is the most critical month?

Despite the early starters, most Australians (68 per cent) still conduct their holiday shopping between October and December, and 62 per cent feel that showcasing holiday items before October is premature. The data confirms that November is the most critical month for sales, accounting for 28 per cent, closely followed by December (21 per cent) and October (19 per cent). Marketers must navigate this timeline carefully to capture both early and peak-season shoppers.

Globally, a very similar number of shoppers gear up for the holiday season early. Almost a quarter of shoppers (23 per cent) will start gift shopping by August or earlier. More than a third of people (37 per cent) will begin by September, and more than half (55 per cent) will start by October.

“Our data indicates that while it’s critical to start holiday campaign planning early, marketers must balance their strategies to avoid overwhelming consumers. Now is the time to refine your approach to capture the early birds while maintaining a strong presence throughout the holiday season,” said Kate Musgrove, managing director of Bazaarvoice APAC.

Caution and intentionality

Over half of Australians (51 per cent) plan to maintain their 2023 spending levels in 2024, while 26 per cent intend to spend less, a higher caution rate compared to the global average of 23 per cent planning to cut spending.

Australian consumers are intentional in shopping, with 38 per cent searching for specific products and 22 per cent targeting items from particular brands or retailers. This intentionality underscores the importance of precise consumer targeting and pricing strategies. It also underscores that many consumers are not attracted to the brand promotions during seasonal shopping.

Although this represents a challenge to Australian marketers, they may feel better knowing that the global intentionality averages are even higher – 42 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

Shopping channels and formats

Physical stores remain the most popular starting point for holiday shopping in Australia (28 per cent), followed by search engines (24 per cent) and brand/retailer websites (24 per cent). Social media and influencer-driven shopping are significantly less influential, with only 7 per cent and 1 per cent of Australians starting their shopping based on these channels, respectively.

Australian consumers are less inclined to shop via social media, with almost all (94 per cent) doing half or less of their holiday shopping on these platforms. This contrasts sharply with other regions, suggesting that while social media remains a valuable tool for brand awareness, other sales efforts continue to be critical.

Globally, the mall or shopping centres are also the most popular place people start their holiday shopping (also 28 per cent). Surprisingly, across all generations, Gen Z was the most likely to say they start shopping here (35 per cent). French respondents were the most likely to go to brick-and-mortar stores (41 per cent), whereas respondents from the US were the least likely (20 per cent).

As for the most impactful content format, Australians – and consumers globally – say video shines brightest when capturing their attention during the holiday season (37 per cent). Shoppers prefer to watch videos that are 1-5 minutes long (30 per cent), closely followed by videos that are a minute or less (26 per cent).

Scepticism towards influencers

Australian consumers are sceptical of influencer recommendations, with 46 per cent distrusting them during the holiday season, compared to the global average of 40 per cent.

“Due to the holiday season not being a primary period for content creator recommendations to influence consumers, retailers need to work extra hard during this time to ensure any messaging shared on the brand’s behalf is authentic,” Musgrove said. “Working with influencers that are genuine endorsers of the brand is one solution for swaying shopper trust”.

Additionally, Australians are more negatively impacted by AI-generated content, with 37 per cent expressing a somewhat negative impact on their purchasing decisions and 44 per cent feeling it lacks a genuine touch.

This scepticism is higher than the global average; only 30 per cent of consumers express a negative impact from AI-generated content. The data suggests authenticity and transparency in influencer marketing are paramount in Australia.

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