Christmas in July?

Author: Rita Landells, Member Response Manager, RAB

If the holidays represent the most wonderful time of the year, it would be no surprise that consumers are already thinking ahead to the holidays and fantasizing about a more optimistic time. According to a recent Voxware study, 51% of consumers expect to begin their holiday shopping earlier than usual this year. Another study done by Radial found that 39% of shoppers plan to begin shopping for the holidays in October.

It is not just consumers; various industry trends predict holiday advertising will start significantly earlier this year. Maybe we should brace ourselves to see ornaments near the candy corn in October?  Pinterest recently found a spike in holiday searches within their platform, home shopping channels have begun holiday gifting sales, a social media platform released a 2020 Christmas planning site, and Nielsen research has shown us that heavy radio listeners are one of most eager groups to spend and return to normalcy. The time to think of the holidays of 2020 is NOW.

Even though none of us possess a crystal ball to see into the future, we should expect more of what we have seen over the past few months – a heightened sense of community, a demand in authenticity, increased time at home, campaigns of inclusion and most importantly and positive and uplifting messaging. Radio delivers all these items, but going into the holiday season, radio will also drive home the importance of shopping local.

Holiday music and increased radio listening go hand-in-hand. Nielsen analyzed more than 50 markets that had flipped to a Christmas format in 2019. During those holiday months, station’s shares, daily occasions and number of listeners all increased for those stations that made the format change.

As states continue to have different procedures and mandates, the local radio advertising for the holiday shopping season will be more important than ever. Who better than Radio to give back to local heroes, celebrate the resiliency of small businesses, and of course, keep communities updated with where they can safely gift shop, all during the most generous time of the year?

Here are some other ideas and concepts that should be considered. When thinking about industry categories, retail businesses should promote their curbside pickup options to balance out high demand for online shopping. For restaurants, it could mean a return of at-home meal kits as big celebratory holiday dinners might not be as common. For home categories, there could be a focus of making home (the new work office) as comfortable as possible – with just a few adjustments and organizational ideas.

Whether you are thinking ahead about the upcoming holiday season, ask yourself these questions:

      • What should the strategy be if things remain unchanged?
      • What should the strategy be if things only slightly improve?
      • What should the strategy be if things drastically change in a few months?

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we all need to be flexible with our marketing and sales strategies. Everything we have done up to this point has been hyper-focused on addressing the challenges of the day, but we’ve learned that it is just as important to plan ahead.

Local Radio connects with listeners and can drive traffic – online and to brick-and-mortar locations. Radio helps businesses think ahead and delivers solutions that will drive current and Christmas-in-July holiday sales.

Are you thinking about Christmas in July?  Share what your plans are for the early holiday shopping season.

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