Latest Update 9.17.21 – Holiday shoppers will have to be wooed back, according to retail experts who report that seismic shifts in pandemic-related shopping patterns will have a big impact on the 2021 holiday sales season.
Not only will brands need to be even more targeted and creative in their approach, but they’ll also need to get started earlier than ever to capture consumer spending.
Such dramatic shifts in traditional holiday consumer-shopping patterns only add to the intense competitive pressure between CBD and Cannabis brands competing for market share to step up holiday pricing, promotions, and packaging.
There are underlying cues of what drivers will motivate holiday shopping this season. They include:
Consumers are reshaping the holiday shopping season to be earlier and longer. An iheart Radio survey revealed that more than a third (34%) of consumers have either started (pre-Labor Day) or plan to start holiday shopping soon.
The trends have brands resetting Black Friday and holiday shopping campaigns with 53% reporting an “earlier start” this year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ 2021 Holiday US Trends Report.
Main Street merchants will continue to play an elevated role in this year’s shopping season, according to Mint, which reports that more than 70 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend more locally this year.
The trend is consistent with a 2020 survey by Google, which reported that 66 percent of shoppers planned to shop local last year.
Although it’s not frequently referenced, 97 percent of CBD companies and many Cannabis brands fit within the SBA’s classification of a small business.
For shoppers, that local moniker offers an important and valuable distinction. Why?
In addition to employing nearly half (47.3 %) of America’s workforce, small businesses reflect the unique character of city neighborhoods and are what keep communities from becoming cookie-cutter replicas of each other.
Bottom line: Small businesses are a mirror of ourselves and embodiment of the American dream and, therefore, deserving of mindful support.
CBD Marketing Hub has created a universal Small Business icon for unrestricted use by CBD and Cannabis brands that want to call out their small-business status. We encourage CBD and Cannabis companies to emphasize local ownership and vendor relationships through their creative use of imagery and iconography on websites, social media platforms and packaging, as well as holiday messaging.
Although concerns surrounding the Delta variant are everpresent, they might help the retail sector, Neil Saunders, managing director and retail analyst at GlobalData Retail, told Retail Brew.
“It will restrict consumers from traveling and dining out much more than it will restrict them from shopping. We could actually accelerate that trend as some service-based spending is transferred into retail,” says Saunders.
This year’s holiday giving will be packed with big giving events characterized by more face-to-face gatherings than ever, according to industry experts who predict record-breaking holiday travel in 2021.
Evidence abounds that the more than 31 million holiday travelers grounded due to COVID last year, won’t likely be staying home again this year.
It’s all about storytelling. One-size-fits-all messaging will not work during another pandemic holiday season.
Retail experts recommend a softer, more sensitive approach to sellers, who need to avoid potentially off-putting consumers with heavy-handed commercial messaging.
More than 64% of Americans surveyed say this holiday season will be more important and emotional than prior years, according to QuantumMetrics.
A Wall Street Journal report says this year’s consumer sentiment is leaning toward “making-up” for last year’s lost holiday time. Celebrations will center around consumer’s desire to reconnect and reinstitute time-honored family traditions.
Given the trends, sellers should focus on products and services that help make this year more special than ever.
The emotional spend is driving up consumers’ expected budgets for the overall season, especially in the U.S., with the majority of Americans planning to spend up to $1,000 or more on the holiday season, according to QuantumMetrics.
Health-oriented promotions and products that build emotional connections will win in 2021, according to retail experts who report mental health and wellness is “on trend” this holiday season.
Online shoppers will be looking for more convenience and personalized consultations. Some have already begun to offer video chats, which enable a more intimate way to promote product videos and highlight product features and functions.
Skincare, haircare, and bath-and-body products, which NPD reported skyrocketed during the pandemic, will continue to trend well in 2021.
But CBD and cannabis brands need to think beyond the bundle to win over consumers this year.
Consumers now accustomed to curbside pick-up and BOPIS (buy online and pick-up in-store) solutions, are less likely to give up the convenience, particularly during the busy holiday season.
Coupled with skyrocketing postal and shipping rates, online retailers who enjoyed a decided edge in the pandemic economy, now face increased pressures to mitigate higher costs and related delivery delays while satisfying consumer appetitive for speed and convenience.
Bricks and mortar CBD and cannabis brands have a unique opportunity to level the playing field.
Whether they bundle CBD bath bombs nestled on a loofah in a wicker basket or create a “sleepcation” kit complete with CBD and cannabis sleep products, a sleep mask, and soothing chamomile CBD tea, gift bundles need to convey comfort, warmth and a long-awaited hug.
Even pain products can nudge their way into holiday promotions with appropriate packaging and recovery-related messaging.
CBD and cannabis brands with apparel lines have the perfect opportunity to creatively package items, like a running cap and recovery rub bundle. Messaging matters.
Brands need to start planning and scheduling media now. If this season is like Memorial Day, businesses can expect to see a flood of media placements from competitors trying to make up for losses in 2020.
Earlier holiday season sales should also help avoid fulfillment crunches late in the holiday season.
In 2020, more than 71% of U.S. adults did half their holiday shopping online. In such a crowded landscape, targeting is essential. Cyber holiday campaigns are nearly a market mandate and must be started earlier than ever. Brands need to pick a lane and own it this holiday season.
Countless studies point to overwhelming evidence that the pandemic has elevated the importance of well-being and maintaining good mental health in America. No one may feel the weight of that more than moms – America’s Chief Health Officer – who, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, make 80 percent of the household decisions about family health.
Among those still feeling the highest level of COVID-19 stressors are Millennial moms, 97 percent of whom told Motherly that they feel more stressed out than ever.
It’s logical that Millennial moms and self-care messages become the centerpiece of holiday campaigns from products focused on maintaining calm during the stressful holiday shopping season to finding balance amidst the chaos of their new everyday life.
Among consumer groups, our targeting experts recommend CBD and Cannabis brands focus on Millennial moms, ages 23 to 39, who are interested in yoga, fitness, and natural solutions this holiday season.
Capitalizing on the trend requires more than artful product packaging to ensure “Sleepcation-type” holiday bundles are targeted to the right audience of sleepless households. Sleep is among the casualties of the pandemic, according to Sleep Medicine, which asserts that clinical insomnia rates jumped up 37 percent since the start of the pandemic, and Supermarket News, which reports sales for sleep remedy products are up more than 20 percent.
Using advertising products like keyLIFT, our keyword-based solution, CBD brands can meet advertising guidelines, while focusing in on targeted need states like sleep. This proven keyword-based solution enables CBD brands to redirect hundreds of thousands of consumer searches for OTC and general sleep solutions to their CBD products.
Cyber holiday sales represent an important mechanism to make up for revenue losses accumulated during the pandemic, invite lapsed customers to return, and, as important, to retain new customers gained as a result of COVID-19 related shifts in digital-shopping patterns.
Our internal-trend monitor mirrors the Brightfield Group’s most recent projection that downward pricing pressures will characterize the fourth quarter and likely continue through the second quarter of 2022.
That’s why we encourage CBD brands to think about their product mix, messaging, marketing, and promotion and adjust plans to meet emerging trends.
On average, about 40 percent of website visitors will leave a brand’s website without registering their email address. During the Cyber sales season, that number jumps even higher. With so much emphasis on driving digital sales activity, it’s important that CBD and cannabis brands have a mechanism to identify, track, and remarket to anonymous website visitors.
With remarketing, CBD and cannabis brands are able to multiply the impact of Cyber holiday sales and achieve higher ROAS.
A great Cyber holiday sales plan can help get and keep CBD and cannabis brands on solid footing. If you need help building or supporting yours, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 734.634.9275.