Google’s 5 Shopping Trends for the 2018 Holiday Season

The more you know about your shoppers this holiday season, the better you can sell and market to them.
Convenience is a huge selling point for holiday shoppers this year. (Photo: Prostock-studio/Shutterstock)

The winter holidays are drawing near, and consumers are starting to get in the gift-giving mindset. As a small business owner, are you preparing for the influx of holiday shoppers heading your way?

Learn as much as you can about this year’s market by exploring these consumer insights and shopping trends for the 2018 holiday season from Think With Google.

Shoppers are discovering new brands

Whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, consumers are more likely to try out new brands during the holiday season. According to Google and Ipsos, 61 percent of shoppers are open to buying from a new retailer for their holiday purchases, and last year, nearly half (46 percent) of them did.

Google magnifying glass

Don’t forget to optimize your website. (Photo: 422737/Pixabay)

Mobile searches including phrases such as “brands like” and “stores like” have increased by 60 percent in the past two years, so try to attract some of this new business by optimizing your website for search terms that relate your business to big-name competitors.

Related: 4 Benefits of Hiring an SEO Agency

Video is inspiring purchases

The prevalence of online video is also playing a role in what shoppers will buy this year. Nearly two-thirds of consumers look to online videos for gift ideas and inspiration, Google found. What’s more, 50 percent of consumers say they watch videos on their mobile devices while shopping in store.

Small businesses can take advantage of this trend by creating product demos, holiday buying guides and tutorial videos for high-traffic platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

Mobile shopping is on the rise


Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and easy to use. (Photo: Stanisic Vladimir/Shutterstock)

Ecommerce still remains a top “destination” this year, especially on the mobile front. Consumers are turning to their smartphones more than ever before. According to a Google/Ipsos survey, last year shoppers reported making half of their online holiday purchases via a mobile device.

Get your ecommerce business ready for online shoppers this season by making sure your website is mobile friendly. For brick-and-mortar retailers who are not already selling online, look into options for adding an online shopping experience for your brand.

Consumers are shopping earlier

While Black Friday through Cyber Monday is still considered prime time for the retail industry, only about 18 percent of consumers take care of all their seasonal shopping needs on this doorbuster weekend. In fact, Think With Google reports that by the Black Friday period, shoppers have already completed 42 percent of their holiday shopping.

One way to bring in some of these early shoppers is by decorating early for the holidays. While some customers may say “Humbug!” when they see Christmas merchandise out before Halloween, seeing holiday decor and deals in your store will help get them in the gift-giving mood.

Related: Is Black Friday on the Decline?

Convenience is key


Don’t make customers work too hard. (Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

Whether they’re buying gifts online or in-store, holiday consumers are demanding a convenient and personalized shopping experience. Google data shows that searches for “gift + ____ year old” have doubled over the past two years, and searches for “gifts for dad” have grown over 80 percent during that same period.

Even consumers who prefer the brick-and-mortar shopping experience are looking online to make sure their trip will be worth it — 41 percent wish that stores would do a better job of sharing accurate inventory information online.

Stay ahead of the market this year by looking at your own customers and determining ways you can preemptively meet their holiday shopping needs. Take time to review your business’s Google listing and consider hiring a professional to evaluate your SEO strategy so you can make the most of the holiday shopping season.

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