What’s in season this Holiday Season?

holiday retail trends

What’s in season this Holiday Season?

Are you reacting, or you are prepared for the change this Holiday Season?


It is inevitable even for the retail optimists to admit that we live in a different world. The demands, fears, expectations and limitations of the market are shaping new ways in which retail and marketing operate. As part of this evolving reality, we see the retail cycles being disturbed. This season, some challenges may involve an inability to offer holiday discounts that have actual customer value. The shifting shopping patterns and supply chain intricacies will add stress to the retail business.

Adobe just published a very insightful and thorough report. It crisply outlines the challenges and expectations for this Holiday Season.

Key Findings

Some of Adobe’s key findings are especially telling of the consequences of the worldwide strategy for curbing the virus.

“Record demand for e-commerce expected to drive holiday spending online to $207B

• With online spending remaining elevated and demand levels poised to surge, the online retail holiday season is expected to top $200 billion for the first time. Shortages expected to persist in the face of elevated seasonal demand — expect some category shortages to be bigger than others


• Out-of-stock notifications have remained high throughout 2021 and will remain a challenge over the season. Inflationary trends and demand levels are leaving consumers with weaker seasonal discounts.

Discounts and Value

• Sales weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day (US) are showing weaker discount levels.

• With prices impacted by inflation, for online categories going into holiday season, the total realized savings for consumers are being reduced.

• Early discounting trends will persist, but the strongest discounts will kick in over Thanksgiving week and Cyber Monday (US). Curbside utilization levels are up as consumers combat shipping and logistical issues

Shopping trends

• Curbside is already at holiday levels and promises to smash through new milestones during last-minute holiday shopping dashes. BNPL sees popularity reach new heights as support increases

New Models

• Buy now, pay later (BNPL) adoption is climbing and being utilized for smaller orders. The usage is expected to grow heavier as the holiday season nears. Top products and categories that will fuel holiday growth • Expect toys, electronics, gift cards, and books to help drive growth.”

The situation is not that grim. It calls for a more strategic approach. If your strategy is to react, it may lead to unpleasant results.

Who’s more prepared?

More prominent players have the resources to lead and plan. The question is, how are medium and smaller retailers supposed to recover. Will they be able to adjust and plan, rather than frantically trying to react when it may be too late?

They have one benefit the big behemoths lack—personal connection and ability to speak and see their customers. Medium and smaller businesses need to focus on their marketing and customer care strategies more than ever if they want to be part of that growth.

The holiday season has the potential to bring more than $200B (US) this year!

Adobe report profit growth


Some interesting trends, which certainly affect the marketing aspect of retail, are, for example, the plateau in mobile purchases. It speaks volumes to the fact that people are at home on their computers. Possibly to a more sedentary way of life and home-centred lifestyle.


smart phone plateau purchases

To summarize the report, it will be hard for many retailers to offer free and fast shipping. Yet, consumers will spend 414 thousand years shopping online during the holidays, according to Adobe! Shortages, problems with logistics, inflation and lack of consumers’ value in discounts are just some of the new challenges.

special customer care

Let all that sink in! What is the key to capturing the already fragmented customer attention?

It is time to rethink marketing and focus on customer interaction. Placing marketers as the forefront leaders and an extension to the brands they represent is key.

Our society is plugged into too many digital widgets, and customers feel the fatigue.

Without innovative strategies, mindless scrolling is turning your marketing dollars to waste. Simultaneously, gift shopping is losing its perkiness. Nowadays, presents are a click away and the sentiment of being looked after in the store with a smile and care is almost gone.

What to do this Holiday Season?

What’s your marketing strategy this holiday season? Are you repeating the old ways with a somewhat digital option for Santa’s photos? Maybe you have a QR code somewhere in the store or Shopping Centre? Are you using Zoom again? Are you copying others?

The strength of brands comes from the emotions they evoke in their customers. Your promotional images may tell the sweetest or most luxurious story, but the world has changed. Thus, people have seen this movie already. It is time to focus on building a new connection that provides a feel-good feeling, even if shipping will take an extra week. You can remove the feeling of inconvenience by providing exceptional service and extra car. Add something special to the package. Incentivize your customer to listen to your story. Be honest!

I am personally obsessed with a Canadian store on Etsy. Although I had to pay a steep price for shipping, the items are unique and arrived in the most personable and cute packaging. It compelled me immediately to write a review. The frustration of paying almost $30 for shipping for a skirt and a shirt dissipated instantly.

Use the challenges to your advantage.

If the market and economic realities are challenging you, you have an opportunity to compensate with swift marketing and customer care strategies.

Adding a real-life aspect to your brand will establish an authentic relationship with your customers. This simple strategy will propel you ahead of the competition!