The Holiday Season Starts Now: 4 Things Retailers Need to Know to Win


Seventy-one percent of consumers now feel comfortable shopping in stores, according to the latest study by the National Retail Federation. This return to stores along with other favorable retail trends predict an impressive recovery in the space, giving retailers every reason to be optimistic as they plan for the holiday season:

  • Retail sales will grow between 10.5% and 13.5% in 2021 as economic recovery accelerates, according to the latest projections from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
  • June sales were up year-over-year across the board, led by increases in clothing, electronics and furniture stores, and also up in two-thirds of retail categories on a monthly basis.

Pent-up demand creates opportunities for customer acquisition and growth. More than half of the participants in a McKinsey study expect to spend extra by splurging or treating themselves, with higher-income millennials intending to spend the most. They’re not just looking to buy; consumers are eager to reconnect with others—a distinction fueling the release of pent-up demand. Shoppers will be more likely to spend more for a bigger, better back-to-school wardrobe or make purchases for home improvements and updates as they prepare to host backyard barbecues or holiday gatherings.

4 Key Retail Trends and Opportunities

A make-or-break opportunity for retailers starts now with the fast-approaching holiday shopping season. Here are 4 things to know as you plan your retail marketing strategy to win.

  1. Expectations for stores are forever changed.
  • The pandemic led to more immersive digital experiences for consumers while the limited availability of the in-store experience led it to become more transaction-oriented.
  • 83% of consumers now expect stores to offer flexible shopping and fulfillment options such as buy online, pick up in store. Read more about how to pivot your marketing strategy to meet shoppers’ changing expectations and behaviors in our previous blog post.
  1. Differentiate your brand to gain and retain customers.
  • Brand loyalty took a hit in 2020. By April, nearly 40% of U.S. consumers surveyed by McKinsey had already switched brands or retailers.
  • A strong and distinguishable brand can help reach and retain customers in the new highly competitive marketplace.
  • Think beyond price and convenience—more than two-thirds of consumers prefer brands that align with their personal values.
  1. Start early and stay ahead of competitors.
  • Nearly half of shoppers surveyed by Adweek started their holiday shopping before—and often in place of—Black Friday in 2020.
  • Expect that trend to continue in 2021, with pent-up demand expected to drive even earlier shopping than before.
  1. E-commerce is essential (including smartphone accessibility).
  • The pandemic-altered holiday shopping season in 2020 saw a dramatic 47% increase in e-commerce sales.
  • An Adobe study found that over half of digital holiday revenue in 2020 was generated by smartphone transactions.

Now is the time to differentiate your brand and adapt your marketing strategy to attract consumers to your store and/or website. By starting now, you’ll be positioned for success now and into the fast-approaching holiday shopping season.
Capture Consumers with a Multi-Channel Campaign
Did you know?

  • 66% of retail store/mall/shopping center customers as well as 50% of shoppers who prefer online shopping have responded to an ad/coupon in the mailbox in the past 12 months.
  • When you add a digital advertising component to direct mail, they work synergistically to boost response rates by 118% and conversion rates by 28%.

When you partner with Mspark, you leverage marketing experts who help you create an effective, integrated marketing campaign consisting of digital and printed mail ads with national reach and precision targeting. Our direct and shared mail solutions give you the ability to create one-on-one messages in a tangible format while addressable geofencing digital ads targeting those same households drive awareness and response as well as attribution tracking of in-store and online conversions.

With consumers ready to spend, retailers have a make-or-break opportunity to regain customers and gain market share. Now is the time to make sure your retail marketing strategy is informed and aligned to drive traffic and sales in 2021 and beyond. Reach out today to discuss your strategy and how to set your marketing plans up for maximum success.

Sources: National Retail Federation; Adweek; AdMall AudienceSCAN 2021; Millward Brown Print Campaign Analysis; Simplifi