“The Christmas shopping season is just warming up,” says Google’s retail expert

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  • Written byJacqui Owens, director of lifestyle retail, Google UK

With Black Friday and Cyber Week now behind us, the shopping season is just warming up. Fifty percent of Christmas shopping is completed after this discounting period, so there’s still plenty of time for retailers to drive sales.

Google sees search demand during December, virtually at the same level as November. In fact, during the first three weeks of December, consumer demand for gifting is 13 per cent higher compared with Cyber weekend. 

The rise of the “zero consumer” (those who have higher expectations of brands but have lower loyalty, patience, and channel boundaries when buying from them) means retailers may need to work harder to win the hearts and attention shoppers this festive season.

Jacqui Owens

In the lead up to this year’s peak shopping season, our research found that 47 per cent of Britons tried a new brand, retailer or product. And that number is even higher among Gen Zedders and Millennials (72 per cent) . Brand loyalty wanes even further when shoppers have an immediate need for a product. This combined with last minute shoppers significantly ramping up delivery deadline related searches in December – peaking just days before Christmas – presents retailers with a prime opportunity to reach new convenience-driven consumers with an AI-driven omni-channel approach.

Last year, December saw +29 per cent month over month increase in ‘near me’ searches while looking for a product – so there is a huge opportunity for omni-channel retailers to drive shoppers in-store by leveraging digital formats to meet their needs with a seamless experience. 

With retail debit card spending spiking after Cyber Weekend and the festive season now in full swing, there’s a huge opportunity for retailers to not miss out on the strong consumer demand by ‘keeping the lights on in December’.  This is true right throughout the month, with gift inspiration searches peaking in the second week of December, right through to Boxing Day sales which this year also coincides with pay day.