The August bank holiday weekend is set to trigger the start of Christmas spending in the UK, and mark the first of a series of peaks in seasonal shopping during Q4, according to new research.
The study, from eBay, indicates that over the bank holiday weekend last August, searches for Christmas-related items increased significantly, spiking by up to 57%.
The publisher has revealed that over the course of the (rather stormy) bank holiday weekend last year (between Friday and bank holiday Monday) searches for “Christmas” on eBay.co.uk shot up by 57%, as shoppers turned their attention to the weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer.
Searches for “Christmas stocking” and “Christmas jumper” also rose by 50% and 39%, respectively, over the same period, suggesting consumers were actively preparing for Christmas four months ahead of time.
As we approach the August bank holiday weekend this year, eBay is reminding brands and sellers that they must work to understand the complex extended peak shopping period, and seize the chance to engage early with consumers who are thinking about Christmas early.
Bert Bassett, Director, Hard Goods UK, eBay, commented: “Brands and sellers are used to planning Christmas strategies early on in the year, but it’s important to understand that it’s not just the retail industry that’s looking so far ahead; our data shows that consumers also start thinking about the festive season in summer.”
To help brands get a head start with planning their Christmas campaigns, eBay today launched its 2017 Christmas Tracker. The Christmas Tracker identifies “windows of influence” in different brand categories, which eBay defines as the period during which searches in the category rise and remain at elevated levels in the run up to Christmas.
eBay has also identified the peak week in each category, reflecting the busiest seven days in Q4.
The Clothes, Shoes & Accessories category boasted the longest window of influence, likely to be driven by early shopping for festive and party outfits. Spending in the Toys & Games and Baby categories, on the other hand, is weighted towards the early part of peak season, suggesting that shoppers prioritise buying presents for their children before focusing on the remainder of their friends and family.
Entertainment categories experienced some of latest windows of influence, with activity in eBay’s Sound & Vision and the DVDs, Films & TV categories remaining at peak until the week of Christmas itself, as shoppers scrambled for stocking fillers and family entertainment in the nick of time. Technology also proved a popular last minute gift; searches in eBay’s Cameras & Photography, and Computers, Tablets & Networking categories were at peak levels right up to the eleventh hour. Unsurprisingly, Black Friday had a big impact across many sectors, with a number of different categories – particularly those with a technology focus – experiencing their biggest weeks at this time
Pauline Robson, Managing Partner, MediaCom, added: “Q4 is a time of huge opportunity for brands, but the scale of the investment in peak season strategies and the intense competition from competitors mean the stakes are extremely high. Online platforms give brands the flexibility to plan for annual peaks and troughs in interest while remaining flexible to real time influences on consumer behaviour.”
“For example, there were severe weather warnings in place around the country on the Saturday of the August bank holiday weekend last year, suggesting that unseasonable weather could play a part in turning shoppers’ attention to the festive season at the end of summer.”