Christmas and Italian shopping, signs of recovery: research

Yahoo’s Christmas 2021 research, carried out by YouGov in 7 European countries

Online and offline shopping, purchasing planning, concern for problems related to product availability, sustainability, spending capacity and which products will be most popular and, consequently, how companies can set up their communications are the topics investigated by the research on Christmas 2021 by Yahoo and carried out by YouGov in 7 European countries: Italy, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Sweden, taking into account a representative sample of the population of 1,000 people in each country.

“Sustainability, giving experiences rather than products, concerns related to international supply and logistics problems, but also the desire to share and be together with family and friends, enjoying the proximity. Christmas 2021 is the mirror of the period we are living and there is a desire and commitment to live different experiences compared to last year’s holidays, but there are some apprehensions that brands must help overcome, reassuring their target and supporting them in their choices. of purchase ”, comments Christina Lundari, Managing Director Yahoo Italy. “As we approach the busiest time of the year for brands across all industries, our research is a guide to holiday campaigns and strategies. But it is also a compass on changes in audience habits and consumption that helps marketers to support their target and respond to their ever-changing needs “.

There are 5 main themes that marketers will have to consider: financial, purchasing planning, respect for consumer values, understanding the behaviors and motivations associated with purchases, ways to capture the attention of consumers.

From a financial point of view, companies need to be ready to provide consumers with offers and advice on how to save and present the different payment methods available. The planning of consumer purchases is crucial, therefore brands must plan their communications bearing in mind that the peak of purchases is in November, also linked to the Black Friday offers. In an age of change, being in line with consumer values ​​is crucial, especially in terms of packaging and respect for the environment. It is for these reasons that to gain public attention it is essential to use projects that are based on a marketing mix of formats, channels and creativity.

1 – Predisposition to purchases: a cautious optimism

One in four Italians plan to invest less this year, but young people aged 16 to 34 are likely to spend more. It is estimated that the average expenditure for Christmas purchases will be € 242.00 (in 2017 it was € 225.00). There is a cautious optimism among Italians: more than a third started saving in September (35% among adults, 41% among 16-24 year olds). However, most people (66%) say it will be in line with what they spent last year. In particular, 19% will have a lower budget, while 10% will invest more.

Alternative payments, especially the “buy now and pay later” formula (Buy Now, Pay Later or BNPL), are those that interest Italians the most. The research calculates that 28% have already used this type of service, especially among 34-44 year olds with 36% of preferences. Percentage that rises to 43% among Yahoo users. In fact, 57% of this group said they value the BNPL method for Christmas shopping.

2 – The time of shopping

41% of the sample plans to search for gifts before December (a recent change of habit, in fact, before the pandemic the figure was still at 35%). It is especially young people aged 25-34 who declare this intention.

November is the peak shopping period, especially on the Black Friday weekend, in fact, especially among 16-34 year-olds there is a 45% more chance of dedicating themselves to this activity. But there is also 20% of the sample (with a peak of 27% among 16-24 year olds) who are also concerned about the potential decrease in the availability of goods due to global supply and logistics problems. While, the analysis of the types of gifts that interest Italians the most shows variations compared to previous years: Food and drinks, Gift cards & vouchers, Home and gardening products, are among the most popular. Probably on the long wave of the effects the lockdown has had on all of us hobbies.

3 – Respect for consumer values

By highlighting their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, studying new packaging, showing more interest in the reuse of products, the brands are closer to the interests of consumers who, in 82% of cases, are more predisposed than in the past. to buy locally produced food and goods (85% over the age of 55). It emerges that for the next 12 months 43% of 16-34 year olds will buy more second-hand products and will adopt rental rather than purchase solutions. In fact, 53% of this group of consumers declare that they prefer to give “experiences” instead of products.

If women are more predisposed to issues related to the sustainability of distribution, a very high percentage of consumers (85%) are aware of the problems related to the disposal of product packaging, preferring reusable solutions, made of biodegradable, sustainable or recyclable materials.

4 – Understanding the values ​​and motivations of consumers

Brands must demonstrate that they have a profound understanding of the ways in which consumer habits and preferences of citizens are evolving. A single approach applied to all types of consumers is no longer valid. On the contrary, it is necessary to introduce versatility and focus on the benefits of online shopping (convenience, larger catalog and free shipping costs), but also those of traditional shops (possibility to touch products, support to the local economy, go home with the purchased products).

Research indicates that 85% of the sample will be doing some of their Christmas shopping at traditional stores, despite the growth in e-commerce over the past two years. So much so that 47% of consumers (it was 29% in 2020) want to maintain a hybrid approach to purchases, evaluating the benefits of one channel to the other from time to time. However, Gen Z expects more from the shopping experience, in 32% of cases going shopping is equivalent to a social experience to share with friends or family (25% among adults). And 86% of that sample are interested in more immersive experiences like AR and VR.

5 – How to capture the attention of consumers

To capture the attention of consumers, it is more necessary than ever to use an omnichannel approach, bearing in mind that age and gender play a fundamental role in the possibility of targeting Christmas purchases.

For example, Gen Z in 35% of cases is more influenced by online advertising than it is with print and TV, which has a greater hold on adults aged 55 and over. Women and young people 16-34, for example, are more sensitive to advice from bloggers and influencers.

The study also analyzed the behavior of Yahoo users, who appear to be very involved in immersive shopping experiences. For example, they show (+ 25%) that they are more interested in using the QR code in stores to receive product information or to place an order online. 36% of Yahoo users are more interested in the “try before you buy” option in AR / VR; 44% prefer live events related to shopping.