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Holiday Shopping Trends and Habits

Tuesday 6th November

As 2018 comes to an end and with darker evenings drawing in, consumers and marketers alike begin to look forward to the fast approaching holiday season for some much needed merriment and respite from the cold and darkness.

-Up to 1/3 of all holiday shopping revenue last year came from Cyber Week promotions (AdWeek)

-15% of women have already started planning Christmas gifts before September (Insights in Marketing)

-38% of men believe they will still be doing their Christmas shopping by December 24th (Insights in Marketing)

-27%W/38%M believe they are unaffected by holiday marketing (Insights in Marketing)


It’s well known that the most important week for brands leading up to the festive season is Cyber Week, with up to 1/3 of all holiday shopping revenue being generated during this period alone. The most successful performer in the market during this time is Amazon, who last year achieved a huge 1/3 of all Cyber Monday sales with the remaining 2/3 distributed far behind the retailer, with the nearest competitor a whopping 24% behind the online giant.

Cyber Week’s dominance is also a key indicator of another trend towards earlier festive consumption, with the UK’s consumers starting their Christmas shopping earlier.

The bulk of this spend will take place in November, with 50% of consumers indicating a desire to have completed all their gift buying before the start of December. Women display this trend most dramatically, with 15% starting to cross items off their lists before September. Men are somewhat lagging behind, with up to 38% stating they expect to be shopping as late as December 24th.

Not only are consumers in the UK starting their shopping earlier, but they are spending more each year. The average spend on Christmas in the UK is expected to be up to £500 per consumer in 2018 based on trends from last year where each household spent around £800, with consumers in the UK market spending an average of 38% more than the EU average on gifts, food, decorations, parties and other festivities in the run up to the big day. Travel plans also see a considerable amount of investment per household, with individuals averaging around £50 each on travel during the period, with a large number of individuals commuting home or travelling abroad to celebrate with their loved ones.



Regardless of which platform consumers ultimately convert on, mobile search is now a fundamental start point for initial research and ideas, even for the two thirds of shoppers who will ultimately venture into the high street to make their purchases in person.

Search trends for relevant terms mirror consumer spending for the most part, with interest beginning in earnest during the latter part of October before reaching its peak during mid-late December.

In the UK particularly, sale searches continue beyond the period, with Boxing Day and the pre-new year sales drawing a huge amount of interest for consumers looking to make the most of what’s left of their holiday budgets.

Looking back at the clear divide between genders, traditionally, the majority of online discourse around the Christmas period has been dominated by women, though Brandwatch has identified a growing trend of Men – particularly fathers – becoming more and more interested in the holiday season at earlier times of year. Traditional marketing efforts have reflected this, with an uneven distribution of messaging with regards to gender within advertisements. Positivity is a key theme throughout discourse, though there is a clear current of disdain and disbelief – particularly from men, where nearly 40% believe themselves to be completely unaffected by advertising campaigns and brand messaging.

Article Written by

Florencia Pichel

International Account Executive, Total Media

Originally from Argentina, Florencia is an International Account Executive who has been living in London for almost a year.
While she loves traveling, she has missed Argentinian barbecues more than she thought she would.

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