37% of consumers surveyed will start holiday shopping by September; 23% begin in August

Bazaarvoice, the leading platform for full-funnel authentic user-generated content (UGC) and social commerce solutions, released its 2024 Global Holiday Season Consumer Behavior Report based on insights from more than 8,000 global consumers. The report suggests that the holiday hustle and bustle begins as early as August.

According to the report, shoppers worldwide are already gearing up for the holiday season. Almost a quarter of shoppers (23%) will start gift shopping by August or earlier. More than a third of people (37%) will start by September, and more than half (55%) will start by October.

Since early this year, brands and retailers have been formulating holiday strategies to capture consumers’ attention. The report’s key findings will help firms fine-tune seasonal tactics with data-driven decisions.

Mid-year sleigh bells? When holiday shopping takes flight across the globe 

Overwhelmingly, UK shoppers are far more excited about the holiday season. 63% of UK respondents plan to start shopping by July or earlier – compared to just 13% of US shoppers who will begin by July. Research shows Germans wait the longest, with 63% not starting until November or later.

How soon is too soon to deck the halls? The report also reveals that most customers (62%) believe October or earlier is too early for stores to showcase holiday items and sales. A quarter (26%) said it’s never too early.

Malls still top the list: Where consumers kick off holiday shopping 

The days of mall Santas and decked-out department stores are not entirely over. Going to the mall is still popular for people to start their holiday shopping (28%). Gen Z was the most likely across all generations to say they started by going to the mall (35%). Geographically, French respondents were the most likely (41%), whereas respondents from the US were the least likely (20%).

The most popular places to begin holiday shopping are researching search engines (24%) and looking directly at brand and retailer sites (24%).

Where did consumers ultimately make holiday purchases last year? The report shows that in-store and online retail stores like Amazon are tied (33% each). The next most popular choice (19%) was an equal mix of shopping with in-store and online retailers on brand websites and social media.

Video content: The preferred format in social media gift searching

Whether aimlessly scrolling or actively looking for gifts, 49% of respondents say their festive social media shopping is intentional and spontaneous.

According to the report, consumers say

  • video format shines brightest when capturing their attention during the holiday season most effectively (37%),
  • with shoppers mostly preferring to watch videos that are 1-5 minutes long (29%),
  • closely followed by videos that are a minute or less (28%).

When asked what type of content is preferred on social media during the holiday season (user-generated, brand-created, or influencer-created), shoppers are split. 46% of consumers prefer brand-created content. 44% prefer user-generated content, with 10% who prefer influencer-created content.

“In today’s market, it’s crucial for brands to create authentic and engaging content at the consumer’s preferred place and moment of engagement. With 82% of shoppers emphasizing the importance of seamless experience across multiple channels, leveraging ‘waterholes’ across the journey and integrating online and in-store experiences is crucial for an effective omnichannel strategy,” says Zarina Stanford, CMO, Bazaarvoice.

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