2020 Holiday Season Unwrapped: Start Your 2021 Holiday Planning Now

No business could have ever planned or prepared for the events of 2020. Everyone went back to the drawing board, trying to find a way to shift production to help the country and their local communities. Many had to re-imagine and re-design processes in order to keep their business alive. Some companies thrived, but many did not. 

A Look Back, To Plan Ahead

The 2020 holiday season, a time many looked forward to and businesses depended on, was unlike anything we have seen before. As one of the longest holiday shopping seasons ever, shifts in shoppers’ mindsets ultimately changed the course of consumer behavior as we knew it. 

What started as crowds of people hoarding toilet paper and clearing out shelves in stores – turned into curbside pick-up and contactless delivery. Browsing aisle to aisle and shopping in-store was practically non-existent. Everyone was shopping online. 

What can we learn from 2020 as we prepare for the 2021 holiday season? As technology and consumer behavior continue to shift – there are definitely a few things to consider for holiday planning. Facebook has recently begun sharing insights into the 2021 holiday season and how businesses and advertisers can be as prepared as possible. 

While there were many obstacles during the holidays, the learnings we have taken from 2020 will launch us into being even more prepared for the 2021 holiday season. And yes, you need to start planning now. 

The 2021 Holiday Season Shopping Landscape

  • Online & mobile shopping will continue to be a key driver for discovery. Having an eCommerce and digital presence on social media became essential for the 2020 holiday shopping season. Consumers are spending more time browsing websites and apps on their phones compared to the browsing in stores that typically occurred. According to a study in Facebook’s 2021 Holiday Unwrapped Webinar, 47% of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers say they discovered ideas or browsed for inspiration during the holiday season on Facebook or Instagram. 43% of holiday shoppers said they discovered ideas or browsed for inspiration on a mobile device. As the line between digital and physical shopping environments continues to be blurred, we can expect these trends to continue as we move into the 2021 holiday season.
  • Preparing a seamless shopping experience can sustain consumer interest. In the age of Amazon Prime, shoppers have come to expect free and fast shipping at the click of a button. While this is not realistic for all businesses, having a seamless and unique personal shopping experience from beginning to end can help cut through the barriers of on-demand shopping. This year more than ever, shoppers will be attracted to ease of ordering and delivery. It will be essential for your business to communicate this to them.
  • Promotional offers and deals will begin happening a lot sooner. Consumers began shopping much earlier last year to make sure their gifts would arrive on time. With so many unknowns around the country still, it can be expected that shoppers will begin planning for holiday shopping as early as October, if not even sooner. Shoppers will continue to have a keen eye for promotions and sales as financial planning for the holiday season has become increasingly important. 
  • There will continue to be a demand for safety and accessibility. Options like curbside pick-up, order ahead, and contactless delivery will still be an imperative aspect of the holiday shopping experience. Having these options available will be essential to securing a safe experience for every customer.
  • Leverage social media as inspiration-provoking platforms. The acceleration to digital shopping is not going away or slowing down any time soon. Consumers are spending more and more time on their mobile devices and social media. Shopping experiences are now being delivered through these platforms. 

Now more than ever, it is crucial to design compelling content for ads and shopping experiences built for discovery. As people devote more time to planning for the holiday season, the more time they have to spend looking at other offerings. Consumers have moved from going shopping to “always shopping,” and social media serves as a network for discovering new products and brands. 

With what we have learned from 2020, advertisers should be able to construct their marketing plans well in advance for the upcoming holiday season. Understanding how buyers’ habits have changed since the pandemic will help businesses thrive this holiday season and beyond.

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