Demand heats up for Season of Spending
By Tess Fellows
When winter rolls into the Southern Hemisphere our Christmas in July jumpers are debuted, our fireplaces crackle, and red wine is poured. It’s also a highly critical time for brands and marketers to get to work and plan how they will capitalise on the major spend moments approaching later in the year. These critical moments are what oOh! defines as the ‘Season of Spending’ – the eight-week period from the start of November until Boxing Day.
This season is responsible for the biggest retail spend of the year. In these eight weeks, more than $55 billion is spent in Australia alone (1). This $55 billion falls across more than one key moment in the calendar. With Boxing Day sales, and the newer spending occasions of Black Friday (which has now overtaken Boxing Day in sales) and Cyber Monday, there’s a full eight-week opportunity for brands to capitalise, to drive awareness and activation.
So how are our audiences feeling this year? We know the last few years have been turbulent. We’ve experienced it, talked about it, and we’ve felt it. However, what we have learnt from Easter earlier in the year, is we are back, and eager to spend. Easter saw $8.6 billion in spend (2), vs $3.4 billion in 2019(3). A huge jump in consumer spending and very positive signs in shopper behaviour. We expect this year’s Season of Spending behaviours to be no different, with travel, open minds, and a great buoyancy in spending.
As Australians’ needs and priorities change in our post-COVID world, brands too must evolve. Not only is it critical to keep up with the changing desires (read: expectations) of consumers, what else is key, is how brands communicate this across their media mix – Here are the key trends we’re seeing for this year’s Season of Spending:
Planning and buying earlier
Consumers are continuing to plan and buy earlier. We’ve felt the impacts of supply chain issues over the past few years, which has driven a shift in planning and purchase behaviour around gifting. 85% of Australians start their Christmas shopping within three months (4). By the end of November, 57% of Australians will have completed their Christmas shopping (4). We are seeing a more proactive, planned approach to shopping, and events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are large enablers of this. What this means for brands is it’s all about timelines. Brands need to ensure they are top of mind during shoppers’ planning phase, to cut through and reach the large number of Australians who finish their spending before December even begins.
Greater accountability on brands
There is more accountability on how brands act, how they bring their values to life, how they treat their staff, and how they behave both from a sustainability and a social/cultural standpoint. With 46% consciously considering how ‘green’ or sustainable a brand and its products are before purchasing5, and 48% considering the company’s values before purchasing (5) – it’s apparent that the brands that actively and effectively communicate and implement their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies will find greater success with an audience who are more lent in than ever.
We have seen a growth in demand for green or eco-products over the festive season – with products like recycled paper or fabric or eco-friendly crackers soaring in popularity. There are even companies offering Christmas trees for rent, where the trees are replanted following their time in the home!
This isn’t a new one, and it’s not going away. Its relevance is accelerating as we are increasingly more technologically equipped to execute on a seamless online-offline customer experience, and what’s more, consumers expect this. 51% of Australians are more loyal to brands that do it well (6). With more touchpoints across the ecosystem than ever before, consumers are craving meaningful experiences. OOH helps brands to connect these moments in multiple ways. First, OOH provides an uplift to digital channels – after seeing an OOH advertisement, 43% of people have visited an advertiser’s website. Secondly, OOH acts as a shop window in the neighbourhood – brands that tap into OOH creativity, can realise these benefits (39% of people have made a physical purchase after viewing an OOH advertisement (7)). It’s a trend that’s not going away, and the brands that will succeed are the brands that lean in to the Omnichannel shopper experience.
Consumers are certainly embracing the variety of shopping journeys available to them, and what we’ve seen across the last 12 months is that in-store is most certainly back and is preferred. The interest, and reputation of in-store shopping is going from strength to strength. A study this year by Ayden and KPMG found that a massive 73% of Australians prefer to shop in physical stores – 14% above the global average (6). In terms of reputation, the physical retail industry is stronger now than pre-COVID, with a net positive change of 8% in the last 12 months alone (one of the top performing categories studied by the RepTrak company (8)). Brands need to embrace the online and offline experience (remember, 3 in 4 consumers will shop a blend of instore and online this Christmas (9)) and consider the unique ways that OOH can reach your audiences
So how can brands prepare for this year’s Season of Spending?
Start planning your OOH and broader marketing campaigns now, as Season of Spending is fast approaching. Ensure you dial up and connect your shopper journey (both online and offline). Lean into your brand purpose and understand the trends that will convert your customers as they seek meaningful experiences.
Finally, communicate well. OOH can deliver your brand purpose in a brand safe, trusted environment, and can effectively deliver your awareness and activation strategy this season.
As always, please reach out to your oOh! sales rep for more information and access to our leading transactional and movement data sets.
4. Graph: CPM Australia & CXI Research Group Online Survey August 2021
5. December 2021 PwC Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey (Australian respondents)
6. The Australian Retail Report 2022 – Adyen & KPMG
7. Harris Poll, November 2021
8. Australian Retailers Association: The ARA Retail Review 2022 https://www.retail.org.au/retail-review#reputation