Holiday Predictions from Criteo's Jaysen Gillespie

Author: Criteo

September 5, 2018

This post was contributed and sponsored by Criteo.

Consumers are getting a head start on their holiday shopping this year, and retailers are taking note. Jaysen Gillespie, vice president and head of analytics and data science for Criteo, explains what's driving this shopping behavior and why retargeting matters. 

eMarketer: We expect 2018 holiday ecommerce sales to grow at a strong 16.2%, representing 12.5% of total retail sales this season. We also estimate steady growth (2.6%) from brick-and-mortar stores. Are our predictions in line with what you're seeing? 

Jaysen Gillespsie: For the most part—based on what we’re hearing both internally at Criteo and from our clients—yes. However, a 2.6% growth for brick-and-mortar might be generous. Many brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to hold on to what they have, despite the fact that ecommerce is growing. But yes, mid-double digits on holiday ecommerce is likely in line with what we would expect. 

eMarketer: What else are you expecting?

Gillespie: More consumers are getting an earlier start on their holiday spending, compared to the past few years. Some of that is because Thanksgiving is falling earlier on the calendar—we have it on November 22 this year, which is the absolute earliest it can ever be. That's great news for retailers because it essentially adds shopping days, especially for those that loosely define the season as Thanksgiving through Christmas. 

eMarketer: But why are they shopping earlier than anticipated?

Gillespie: Right, they could've done this 20 years ago if they wanted to. It's because of ecommerce. It's ecommerce, it's mobile, it's the fact that I don't need to go to a store to get the best deal. Retailers have figured that out, they're starting their holiday promotions earlier.  

eMarketer: And for some, retargeting is an important part of these holiday promotions. 

Gillespie: Yes, the holiday season is all about timing. Can your ad hit the user at the right moment? With the right product? Two big behind-the-scenes keys to making the incremental sale are access to premium inventory or header bidding, and the ability to drive product discovery by including products in the banners—even if the shopper had not looked at those specific products. In a season of “buying for others” the discovery element of an ad banner is unusually helpful.

Seeking additional holiday insights from retail experts? Click here to sign up for eMarketer's Holiday Shopping Interview Roundup 2018 to learn what retail thought leaders are saying about this upcoming season.