Webinar 43: Finding Holiday Magic – COVID-19 Consumer Tracking

How COVID is impacting purchase motivators in the upcoming season 

Presentation Date:   Thursday, Oct.  15

Presenters
: Kayte Hamilton, Client Partner Director, and Jenny O'Connor, Community Manager

Webinar Recap 

Regardless of religious affiliations, there are a number of upcoming holidays that center on connecting and togetherness.  

How is COVID impacting traditions and emotions? To get there, we needed to take a step back regarding our CLE COVID tracker. Before now, we felt we were well on the way to the Recovery and New Normal phases. However, we noticed our CLE’s purchasing motivators have moved back into the functional territory. 

Part of this is due to the uncertainty on what to expect; there’s a lot of “waiting to see” what happens on a variety of fronts. Not to mention unemployment is still very high. That Recovery phase is blending with our Adjustment period as we once again gear up for new disruptions as the holiday season approaches and as US case counts climb toward a potential third US peak in terms of total virus cases. 

Normally around this time of year we would expect a larger spike in social purchasing motivators – those purchase types are often driven by relationships (both friends and family), but we’re hearing that gifting based on need (versus want) is a large necessity this year. You aren’t seeing advertisements for the latest tech gadgets or frivolous spending categories; we’re driven by these practical aspects more than ever.  

10-18 motivators over pandemic

Can there be holiday magic this year?  

In short, yes! 45% of CLEs feel the season is going to be different – but aren’t sure if these will be positive or negative adjustments (compared to 21% of CLEs feeling the impacts will bring on bad changes to their holiday plans). This explains the holding pattern we see in terms of emotional response while anticipating the upcoming celebrations.  

Top emotions about this year’s holidays include being Hopeful (68%) and Optimistic (63%). We also discovered that CLEs have mixed emotions from being excited/energetic to worried/anxious. It’s perfectly normal to experience polarizing emotions; especially in serious situations where the outcome is unknown.  

Not surprisingly, the down trends for how CLEs are planning to celebrate this year include all in-person aspects; from shopping to gatherings. Where we see this magic start to come to life are in the ways CLEs are adapting to the changes:  

    •  Home-cooked meals (89%) & 64% Open to trying new recipes 
    •  Online shopping (88%)  
    •  Charitable Donations (87%) 
    •  Gift cards & mailed gifts (82%) 
    •  Home Made Gifts (79%) 
    •  Decorating (70%)  
    •  Virtual religious services (65%) 
    •  Virtual Parties (57%)   

Decorating was a standout, Decorating is one of my favorite things to do around the holidays. It brings cheer and joy.” As we’re seeing not just CLEs staying home more than ever before, even 6+ months into the pandemic, that need to feel spirited comes from what we are surrounding ourselves with. From Fall/Halloween décor to full Christmas decoration; there will be an increase in money and time spent for people to feel this joy.  

 

Where are CLE’s are finding magic this year?  

  • Online shopping. Yes – another year of a rise in online retail. This is a way to feel safe instead of being driven into closed-quarters. There's also the added bonus of many major sales happening sooner and lasting longer; giving more time to find the best gifts.  
  • Local celebrations. With travel down (both domestic and international), people are staying much closer to home and are looking for ways to support small business and local merchants. This is an excellent ‘upper’ to feeling more connected to their community.  
  • More intimate and creative connections. CLEs are trying to find the positives to the restricted social aspect and are accepting the challenge. From learning to cook, to trying new recipes, to developing new traditions; they feel up to the challenge.  

 How can Brands help them find the magic this year?  

  • How can your messaging or your product be tailored or packaging so it can become a part of something personal they create? How can you create a way for people to create a personalized gift without a large expense? 
  • What new foods can you help them experience and cook? How can you cater to smaller groups? 
  • How can you create a way to share an experience virtually? How can you’re your brand be involved in making new connections? What new experience are you able to create that has never been created before? 

 

For more on holiday magic, check out the archived recording here. 

Find more insights on people's adjustments to the pandemic on our Tracker page.