Fall Customers Bring More Holiday Sales

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As marketers wrap up their plans for the rest of the year, it may be tempting to hold on to old logic and start holiday campaigns on Black Friday. However, in combing through actual transaction data made available to Cardlytics through our partnership with over 2,000 banks, we’ve discovered that the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a material impact on consumer preference and spend during the holiday season. It’s critical for marketers to build momentum in the fall and stay top-of-mind leading into the holiday shopping season.

Here are three key insights every marketer should consider when prepping for the holidays:

Last year, the majority – almost 60% – of holiday sales were from repeat customers.

Many marketers place emphasis on customer acquisition. However, the majority of holiday sales are driven by customers who already purchased from those retailers within the previous year. Marketing to existing customers may feel like you’re preaching to the choir, but there is still significant upside – especially during the holidays when competition is fierce. At Cardlytics, we use Purchase Intelligence™ to target likely buyers (both new and/or existing) and prove out the impact of campaigns so marketers have confidence that their budgets are driving actual incremental sales.

Customers acquired in the fall spend 7% more during the holidays.

Marketers see a significant benefit when they build out their customer base early in the fall vs. during the holidays. Across the majority of retailers, customers from fall acquisition campaigns not only drove a boost in fall sales, but they also set stores up for success in the holiday by spending 7% more overall than customers acquired in December. Seasonal categories like Women’s Apparel and Home Décor saw a particularly high lift in holiday sales when they acquired customers early. Leveraging these specific purchase insights about how and when customers shop your brand leading up to the holidays will help you build an effective marketing strategy and make the most of seasonal spend.

30% of all holiday sales occur in the four weeks before Black Friday.

As many retailers kick off their deals early and consumers rely more on last-minute holiday shipping, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are continuing to decline in importance. In the last few years, spend across the season has shifted to both well before and well after the retail event. In fact, 30% of all holiday sales occur in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, so it’s critical to start appealing to those early deal seekers now. Early Bird Shoppers (a major driver of pre-Black Friday sales) like to knock out their holiday task list as quickly as possible. Of all the holiday shopper types we analyzed, Early Birds spent the most—a whopping 82% of their total holiday spend–at physical stores. With an average spend of $1,715 per person, winning a larger share from these customers can set retailers up for a successful holiday season.

In summary, it’s never too early to set a foundation for a prosperous holiday season. The coming weeks will be a key time to acquire customers who will move the needle during the biggest shopping season of the year. At Cardlytics, we leverage Purchase Intelligence™ to ensure marketers’ ads reach relevant audiences. After all, someone who makes frequent purchases at children’s apparel and toy stores will not necessarily want the same advertising as someone who has to have the latest tech devices and electronics. Let’s work together now to build your sales momentum for a more abundant holiday and an overall better return for the year.

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