The news around a pending recession, and constant reminders in our everyday lives about the impact of inflation, are certainly reasons for concern.  However, perhaps the holiday season is just what we need to breakout of our doldrums.  Data from Taboola showed that readership topics over the last 45 days leading into the Thanksgiving Day Weekend shifted significantly.  Readership of gift-guide related articles rose 150%, while readership of inflation related articles dropped 150%.  Along with those increases, unsurprisingly, there were huge spikes in readership for Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. 

Now reading about something versus actual spending are two different things.  The really positive sign is the record breaking spending that occurred on Black Friday according to data published by Adobe Analytics.  Consumers spent a record breaking $9.12 billion on Black Friday, which was a 2.3% increase over last year.  Electronics, smart home equipment, audio equipment, toys, and exercise equipment were among the top drivers of the record breaking sales.  While this post is being written on Cyber Monday, so final numbers are not available, Adobe Analytics is predicting $11.2 billion in spending on Cyber Monday, which would mark a 5.1% increase over last year. 

While the expectation might be that all of the growth is coming from e-commerce, eMarketer is showing signs that brick and mortar retail is more vibrant that it has been in years.  “The decline of brick-and-mortar retail has been greatly exaggerated, as the trend of more store closings than openings significantly reversed: In 2022, there were 4,432 announced store openings versus 1,954 closures through August 2, according to Coresight Research.” Along with this quote, eMarketer is projecting in-store holiday sales to be healthy at a 5.9% increase over last year. 

One major way that consumers are able to spend more on the holidays with inflation on everyday items and recession concerns looming, is the use of “Buy Now Pay Later” opportunities.  The BNPL revenue rose 81% in the same period.

Another way consumers are showing their holiday spirit is by tuning into specials.  The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade drew its largest audience in 5 years with 27.7 million viewers watching on TV via NBC or streaming through Peacock.  It was NBC’s most watched entertainment program of the year to date.  Networks and stations are banking on this trend continuing as they increase their holiday programming.  CBS is releasing a new animated special ‘Reindeer in Here’ on Tuesday, November 29th and Hallmark continues to produce new holiday movie after holiday movie. 

As the first holiday season since 2019 that is “back to normal,” 2022 marks a big opportunity for advertisers to capture what seems to be a renewed consumer spirit for the holidays.  This applies to not only retailers, but also tourism and attraction advertisers as demand for experiences is high among consumers.  It is important for advertisers to make sure they are offering promotions for deal-seeking consumers, optimizing their spend on lower-funnel tactics (such as search and sponsored product ads) and continuing to spend on upper-funnel tactics (such as video and display) to drive momentum during and beyond the holiday period. 

MayoSeitz Media is excited for a fun, but very busy holiday season.  We hope at the end to get to relax and spend time with our loved ones, and wish the same for all of our partners and friends.