2023 Holiday Shopping Trends

GroundTruth looks into real-time consumer trends & visitation patterns & gives strategies for reaching holiday shoppers. Read our holiday shopping trends.

Time to dust off those jingle bells! The holiday season seems to start earlier each year, extending over a longer period to accommodate additional promotional events eager to capitalize on the shopping frenzy.

What does this mean for you, marketers? You need to get in front of holiday shoppers with relevant messaging across all the channels that will have the most impact several weeks ahead of the holidays! It also means your marketing plans need to be strategic, effective, and, most importantly, based on real-world behaviors. To help you sleigh your marketing goals, GroundTruth has a holiday gift for you. Our team tracked 2023 holiday spending and foot traffic trends to the biggest retailers using our 1st party data. Plus, we’ve got a few stocking stuffers down below to make your marketing plans actionable. Are you ready to make the most of the holiday season? Let’s get started!

Where Holiday Shoppers Do Their Shopping

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are still holding the winter crown, claiming more than 80% of the holiday retail sales pie, according to eMarketer. However, the digital realm, particularly mobile commerce (m-commerce), is quickly gaining ground. It’s expected to make up nearly half of all holiday e-commerce sales in 2023, signaling a shift in how consumers are choosing to shop during this festive season. This trend underscores the importance of a robust online presence for marketers looking to tap into this growing market.

2023 Holiday Season Foot Traffic Wrap Up:

Black Friday was the start of a season full of ongoing deals and savings for budget-conscious shoppers.

  • GroundTruth foot traffic data shows that certain categories fared better than others on Black Friday:
     Jewelry stores saw a 66% increase in foot traffic followed by Sporting Goods (54%),   Electronics/Office Supply (43%), Apparel/Footwear (36%) & Malls/Department Stores (35%).
  • Within each category, certain brands outperformed others, including:
     Jewelry: Helzberg Diamonds, Zales the Diamond Store & Kay Jewelers
     Sporting Goods: Columbia Sportswear, Champs Sports & Cabela’s
     Electronics/Office: Best Buy, Microsoft Store, Gamestop
     Apparel/Footwear: New Balance, Aéropostale & Under Armour
     Malls/Department: Tanger Outlets, Kohl’s & Simon Malls

Following Black Friday, shoppers began to prepare their homes for holiday celebrations and guests.

  • In the week following Black Friday, foot traffic to the Furniture and Home Improvement/Furnishing sectors increased and stood out amongst the other Retail categories.

Weekends in December are when shopping ramps up, with foot traffic peaking the third weekend of the month.

  • Foot traffic peaked for the holiday season on December 16th, one week ahead of the usual peak of Super Saturday, with foot traffic to the Retail category 47% above average.

2023 Holiday Shopper Favorites

Jewelry Stores were golden throughout the holiday season, with foot traffic almost double the average rate (93% above average). Other noteworthy shopping categories included Kids Stores (90%), Sporting Goods (86%), Apparel/Footwear (81%), Alcohol (74%), Beauty (74%) and Malls/Department Stores (70%).


What 2023 Shoppers Planned to Buy

2023 Holiday Season Retail Ecommerce Sales
2023 holiday retail trends

As for the gifts people are searched for in 2023, it’s all about apparel, accessories, and those fun toys and hobbies. Holiday retail shoppers aren’t just meeting the benchmark – they’re dashing ahead of it! According to eMarketer, these are the only gifting categories set to outpace the ecommerce sales growth rate benchmark of 11.3% for the full season.

What’s a contributing factor to this growth? Spending extra time in the office, planning for new vacations, and the increase in social events is causing everyone to take a second look at their wardrobe! If you’re looking to make the most of your holiday ads, these are the golden ticket to your success.

How to Maximize Your Holiday Marketing Strategy

Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the details of how marketers can really make the most out of this extended holiday season. Consider it our little holiday workshop to help you wrap your marketing strategy with a bow.

1. Embrace an Omnichannel Approach

An omnichannel strategy is an absolute must. Creating marketing synergies that cater to customers across various touch points will be a game-changer for this season. As marketers, you should encourage in-store app usage that can drive incremental traffic between physical and online channels. Also, consider adding robust loyalty programs and convenient click-and-collect options to your holiday campaign, as they can boost sales during this competitive shopping season.

2. Invest in CTV (Connected TV)

Amid the holiday hustle and bustle of search and social channels, it’s time to break away from the pack and explore emerging marketing channels, like CTV advertising. CTV offers efficient targeting and can generate a higher return on ad spend (ROAS). When combined with other media channels, such as mobile, CTV can help you amplify your message across the same audience and increase store visitation by 61% compared to just mobile marketing alone, according to a GroundTruth study. By investing in CTV ads, you can reach your audience in a more engaging and cost-effective manner, making it a valuable gift for your marketing strategy.

3. Know Your Audience

Just like Santa checking his list twice, understanding your audience is essential to crafting a successful holiday marketing plan. Don’t let the jingle of industry reports and trend predictions fool you into a false sense of security. Instead, rely on the gift of real-world shopper behavior insights to convey an effective holiday message. Whether you’re targeting early holiday planners or last-minute shoppers, harnessing the power of audience targeting platforms can help you build a profile based on your target market’s real-world behavior.

As we get ready to spread some extended holiday shopping cheer, keep in mind there are countless opportunities to build the connections that warm the hearts of your customers (and your leadership teams). With these holiday shopping trends in mind, you’ll have a leg up on the season. By staying updated on those important dates, knowing where people are doing their holiday shopping, and learning what’s at the top of those wish lists, you have all the right ingredients to make your holiday marketing strategy jingle all the way. So, here’s to a season filled with love, laughter, and a dash of marketing magic.

Interested in additional strategies that can help you drive real business results this holiday? Download one of our complete holiday strategy guides:
Want to spice up your holiday marketing plan? Learn more about how GroundTruth can help you optimize your marketing strategy this extended shopping season by contacting us.