The holiday season is officially upon us and much like the rest of 2020 there is a lot of uncertainty for local businesses. That’s why we developed this playbook- a space for local businesses to learn about the effects of COVID-19 on this years holiday season, resources, and tips on how to be successful in an everchanging digital landscape. Throughout you will find previously recorded webinar sessions filled with trends and suggestions from the experts at Amplified, as well as free resources and sourced materials from trusted partners and brands. We will continue to update this information throughout the holiday season, so check back frequently. To get started, download our Holiday Marketing Checklist to the right. 

2020 Holiday Trends

Shop Local

With brand loyalty a thing of the past, many consumers have shifted to a local mindset. Google searches for “available near me” have grown by over 100%


With increased screen time and less time out of the home, consumers are starting holiday shopping earlier than ever. 70% of shoppers plan to start earlier than usual  to avoid crowds, according to Google.


Consumers are looking for experience. From communication to shopping, many will turn to online resources this holiday season. According to Google, even when shopping in stores, 67% of consumers will verify availability online first.


Due to ongoing economic uncertainty, holiday budgets will be lower than normal. A recent study indicated that 39% of US holiday shoppers plan to spend less on gifts this year. Consumers are focused on sticking their budgets.

Dates to Remember

✓ 10/13 – 10/14: Amazon Prime Day

✓ 11/26: Thanksgiving

✓ 11/27: Black Friday

✓ 11/28: Small Business Saturday

✓ 11/30: Cyber Monday

✓ 12/1: Giving Tuesday

✓ 12/19: Super Saturday

✓ 12/24: Christmas Eve

✓ 12/25: Christmas

✓ 12/31: New Year’s Eve

Effects of COVID-19 on Holiday Shopping Behaviors & Expectations

As we all continue to live with the reality that is COVID-19, consumer behaviors have begun to settle into a ‘new normal’. But what does that really mean for businesses?

Research indicates five major themes among consumers:

  • Shift to value & essentials
  • Flight to digital & omni-channel
  • Shock to loyalty
  • Health & ‘caring’ economy
  • Homebody economy

Ongoing financial uncertainty and disruptions to normal daily routines has shifted the way people are shopping and interacting with businesses. Consumers are spending less on vanity items and more on every day essentials like groceries and household items. They’re also spending more on home hobbies like electronics, books, and music.

Consumers have also grown accustomed to more businesses offering ecommerce functionality and contactless services like curbside pickup that the trend is likely here to stay. When consumers do shop in store, they’re seeking businesses that are taking steps to ensure personal safety for staff and customers alike.

During the pandemic, many retailers have experienced product shortages, which means that consumers have had to adjust their shopping habits making the days of brand loyalty obsolete. Rather than focusing on the brand, consumers are now prioritizing purchases based on availability, price, and quality. With brand loyalty a thing of the past, many consumers have shifted to a local mindset.

Check out our previously recorded session on the effects of COVID-19 on shopping behaviors and expectations for more information.

When & How Consumers Shop During the Holidays

When it comes to holiday shopping there are four main types of shoppers:

  • Early
  • Late
  • Deal Seekers
  • Seasonal

Early Shoppers
These consumers are just as they sound – those that knock their holiday shopping out as quickly as possible. They’re research driven, often searching for deals, and are likely to spend more money that other shopper types.

More consumers plan to shop early and online this year to avoid the last minute rushes, so it’s important for local businesses to get in front of this group.

Make meaningful connections with early birds by making them feel valued. Utilize their name whenever possible and offer unique discount codes or rewards to increase the odds of them returning to your store during or after the holiday season.

Late Shoppers
The exact opposite of the early birds is the late shopper. These consumers make the majority of their holiday purchases the week before Christmas.

This segment of shoppers is less focused on getting the best deal and more interested in convenience. Late shoppers will likely default to the buy online and pickup in store category in 2020, so it will be vital to articulate your ability to meet those needs.

Deal Seekers
Often mistaken for ‘bargain hunters’, the deal seeker is searching for the best value per dollar. They do their homework and tend to shop major sales such as Black Friday & Cyber Monday.

Although they may not be shopping as much in October and early November, it’s still imperative to have your marketing message in front of this group to ensure they’re aware of your offer.

Deal seekers tend to shop a mixture of online and in-store sales, but businesses can expect to see more online purchases from this group in 2020. They’re all about value so consider offering free shipping or gift wrapping to make them feel like they’re getting something extra.

Seasonal Shoppers
Last, but not least, the seasonal shopper is the consumer that shops all season long. They’re a mixture of the other three segments – research driven, seeking value, and enjoy shopping in store and online.

Keep the seasonal shopper coming back to your business by offering future rewards points or coupons.

For more, check out our previously recorded session on when and how consumers shop during the holidays.

Competition During the Holidays

When it comes to digital advertising, the holiday season is notoriously the most expensive time of year for an advertiser. Many businesses use the increase in revenue generation from October-December to supplement advertising budget that they don’t have throughout the rest of the year.

This increase in competition inevitably leads to higher cost per clicks for budget based campaigns on Facebook, Google, and YouTube. On Facebook and YouTube, the increase in bidders leads to higher placement costs which ultimately results in fewer available impressions. On Google, the increase in bidders leads to a higher cost per click, ultimately resulting in fewer clicks to website.

Tips for Budget Based Campaigns

During the competitive holiday season, there are many things a business can do to remain competitive:

  • Avoid rushing around at the last minute by planning ahead
  • Compare year over year results to determine what went well and what didn’t
  • Automate campaigns
  • See what the competition is doing
  • Review and manage bid adjustments

It can be overwhelming to determine if a budget increase is right for your business during the holiday. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the goals you’ve put in place and your expected return on investment. Based on your goals, you can take the following actions:

  • Leave Budget & Strategy As Is: With no alterations to your budget, you can expect less reach and lower performance when compared to normal months
  • Reduce Solutions with Same Budget: With lower solutions, you can shift budget to more successful tactics for increased reach and greater engagement
  • Keep Solutions &  Increase Budget: With increase budget on the same solutions, you can expect to reach more users.

For more, check out our previously recorded session on competition during the holidays.

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