The holidays are coming. People will be in the mood to relax, celebrate and spend time with those they love. It’ll just be different this year. You already know why. Let’s get into the holiday advertising trends (just six, and they’re brief) straight away.
1. A Marathon, Not a Sprint
The pandemic has sparked unpredictability surrounding the upcoming holiday season. To prepare, people (39%) plan to start shopping in October and early November. Highly anticipated sales like Black Friday shift from 24-hour discount windows to season-long opportunities with an emphasis on online purchasing. As far as in-person shopping goes, expect long lines of cars for curbside pickup, not just lines of people.
2. Last-Minute Vacations
Uncertainties create hesitation. Unlike shopping early, people are booking their holiday trips later than in years prior. Travel planning—a known joy-inducing aspect of travel—is getting postponed, but airlines are tempting people with unbeatable deals and bold (and weird) promotions in their holiday advertising. Southwest made its beloved Companion Pass, for a short window, more accessible than ever, and Frontier offers a free flight to Orlando if your name is…Orlando.
3. Staycations Surge
The staycation trend is accelerating, going hyper-local + hyper-extended. Drive trips (within 200 miles from home) make up the majority of planned travel, and now it’s getting even closer to home. Large metro areas see spikes in locals taking walkable trips (yes, as in, walking to your nearest upscale hotel for some weekend R&R). Meanwhile, affluent travelers test out local living elsewhere or even a town away, with weeks-long blended work-leisure trips (How I Built This).
4. Wellness FTW
Just ask Google about panic searches. It’s clear that we’re wanting comfort in new ways to cope with new struggles. This means unlikely (non-wellness) brands have a role to play in democratizing access to wellness. That’s why pop star Kacey Musgraves released self-soothing merch in the form of signature bath bombs and puzzles as opposed to typical graphic tees. Subscription boxes (not new in concept, but new in contents) have shifted at Blurt, where BuddyBoxes delivers comfort and self-care products monthly.
5. Self-Indulgence or Altruism?
False dichotomy alert, it’s both. Three tips for holiday communications planning to help strike the right balance and tone.
- Expect mindset oscillation, from “treat myself” to “treat others”
- Provide space (products, trip invitations) for self-indulgence and gifting
- Express your brand’s altruistic, giving spirit
6. Let’s Get Festive (Safely)
Cater to the pent-up demand for festivity, because it’s been surging in our souls since April (says Pinterest). Half of people plan to do holidays “as normal” and half will get creative (think Thanksgiving picnics). Normal holiday activities (skiing, Disney World, pumpkin patches) are putting safety first with restaurant-style reservations. But the people demand festivity, and festivity we should deliver. Like Oreo, which released its first-ever gingerbread flavor. Expect other holiday editions to follow suit and get ready for a season of both familiar favorites and new traditions.
That’s it! That’s all six trends. Oh, and a quote that really wraps it all up.
“Rituals are about control – they create an illusion of belonging and safety, both of which have been in short supply during the pandemic. This holiday, consumers will want those rituals to be even more special. Brand campaigns which cater to those needs – particularly belonging – will make an impact.”
—Kate Nightingale, consumer psychologist
So, how will your brand foster belonging as we bid sayonara to 2020? How can we help? Let’s talk holiday advertising for your brand.
Now in our 50th year of business, Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.