The consumer shifts marketers need to know this holiday retail season

The challenges faced by retail over the last 19 months have had a major effect on consumers as well. Erin Holt reveals what marketers should know about this holiday season in particular.

If you’re like me, you get excited at the first signs of Halloween decorations popping up at the shops. Not because I’m a massive fan of a holiday that requires a costume, but because it officially marks the beginning of the biggest season in retail.

First Halloween, then Black Friday and Cyber Monday, followed by Christmas and Boxing Day. If the retail industry were anything like footy, the last quarter of the year could be considered our Grand Final. However, during my 15 years’ experience working with brand partners, this is a Grand Final like no other.

After the challenges of the past 19 months, with lockdowns and a global pandemic, Aussies’ lives drastically changed. This has affected consumers’ shopping behaviours too. Gumtree Media’s latest research reveals that 77 percent of Gumtree users have saved the same or more money than they have in previous years. These savings mean they’re ready to splurge on Black Friday and Christmas. In fact, two in three said they will spend more in 2021 than they did last year. It’s expected that 19 percent will be spending over 10 percent more than they did last year.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) also recently discovered that Australians are set to spend an estimated $11 billion this Christmas.

Aussies are spending big this year  


Australia has started to open up again, and retailers are welcoming shoppers back in-store just in time for the busy season. As this happens, brands need to be aware of new pandemic-influenced consumer behaviours that are set to influence this year’s
sales.

With more than one in three Australians using Gumtree each month, there is visibility across the latest trends in consumer behaviour and expectations. This year, over half of Gumtree users (52 percent) have indicated that they are likely to purchase items in the upcoming major sales. This is a 24 percent year-on-year jump. 

Forty-four percent of respondents said they spent more than $250 during last year’s major sales. Twenty percent spent more than $500. This year, two in three are planning to increase their spending. 

Looking even further into the Christmas period, 64 percent of Gumtree users said they plan to spend more than $250 on gifts. Thirty-eight percent said they’ll be spending more than $500. A demographic breakdown of this data shows that parents will spend the most amount of money on Christmas gifts. Australians are expected to purchase around $563 worth of presents, splurging 20 percent more than the average Gumtree user. They’ll be closely followed by empty nesters and married/de facto users, who are scoped to spend $509 and $501, respectively. In other words now is the time to go all in.

 

Building brand relationships is key to conversion


By leveraging timely shopping trends, brands can demonstrate that they truly understand their audience and what they want. As a result, they can connect with their target market in a more genuine manner, as well as build deeper and stronger relationships with customers. Part of this understanding includes knowing the types of items that specific audiences are interested in. This is an essential element that can help marketers create personalised, highly targeted advertising campaigns . These should resonate with shoppers and connect them with a brand. 

According to our research, the most popular category for this holiday season is home DIY, furniture and appliances. Thirty-six percent of Gumtree users are likely to purchase these types of items. Other categories of interest are: auto, adventure and sporting accessories (23 percent), electronics and computers (21 percent), and clothing, shoes and accessories (20 percent). 

 

Digital buying behaviour is here to stay


Retailers should also think about the best approach for them to tap into key shopping days and how to leverage strategic media partnerships to drive sales. Although shoppers are keen to get back to their favourite stores in-person, the rise of online shopping shows no signs of slowing down. 

The report from ARA stated that online purchases for Christmas will be at an average of 48 percent. It also reported 58 percent of Aussies will buy more items online this year than they did in 2020. This means digital marketing and advertising solutions will play a key role in connecting with shoppers. Consumers will be interacting both online and in-store, which marketers will need to consider.

Finding the sweet spot between customer insight and behaviour change

 

One of the best parts of working with Gumtree is having access to the latest marketplace trends and consumer insights. We have in excess of seven million Australians buying, selling and searching on the platform. When it comes to helping brands find new and creative ways to develop customer connections, the ability to tap into the minds of millions of Aussies is a huge asset.

Using data to understand consumer life stages plays a significant role in helping pinpoint customer journeys and purchase intent. At Gumtree, we know when users might move house, get married or upsize their car through first-party data. Pair that with an understanding of consumer behaviour and a sweet spot emerges, which helps brands understand why a consumer might spend, how much they’re willing to spend and when their spending may take place.

So, we’re back to preparing for the big Grand Final this holiday season. Brands, advertisers and marketers alike need to take a holistic approach to retail. They should keep in  mind how consumers intend to splurge post-lockdown. Unlike most of the effects that COVID has had on our world, this trend won’t last forever. Don’t miss out on the chance to see profits soar by tapping into these pandemic-influenced behaviours.

 

Erin Holt is head of partnerships at Gumtree Australia.