Mobile Marketers Sending Holiday Promos Sooner

Do ads in October—and earlier—entice or irritate digital buyers?

Author: Krista Garcia

August 30, 2018

Mounting evidence shows that the holiday shopping season is starting sooner. But is this Christmas creep consumer-driven or the result of retailers planting seeds in the public's mind earlier in the year?

According to a July 2018 survey of US consumers and mobile marketers worldwide by YouAppi, retailers might be a little premature with holiday promotions. 

The largest number of marketers (30%) plan to start pushing holiday products via mobile apps in November, the same as in 2017. But more said they were going to start before October: 23% in 2018, compared with 16% last year. And fewer are waiting until December (11% vs. 17%).

However, only 11% of consumers want to see holidays mentioned in mobile apps in October. Most are not ready for holiday ads until after Thanksgiving (38%), though that's down from 46% in 2017.

Mobile marketers also have slightly different takes on the mobile opportunity for this year's holiday season compared with 2017. Fully 60% think it's a great time of year to engage customers, up from 54% who thought so a year earlier. And 28% said it was an opportunity to collect data to use in future campaigns, up from 25% who said the same in 2017.

Fewer saw mobile campaigns as an opportunity to have fun and be creative this year (38% vs. 43%). Though counterintuitively, when asked if they were doing something new this year, 62% said they will try different creative ideas, up from 42% in 2017. 

Mobile users aren't just passively absorbing these holiday marketing messages—creative or not. During the 2017 holiday shopping season, sales coming from smartphone purchases set records. And a Facebook IQ analysis of conversions categorized as purchases from holiday ads demonstrated the shift from desktop to mobile. Fifty-three percent of conversions on Black Friday 2016 occurred on a mobile device, but that figure jumped to 74% for the same day last year. 

eMarketer estimates US retail mcommerce holiday season sales hit $40.87 billion in 2017, a 36.3% increase year over year. We forecast that total will reach $54.17 billion this year, which will represent 43.9% of total holiday retail ecommerce sales.