2022 holiday season: trends to expect this year

Article detail for Actionable insights for your store:

We can all agree, 2022 has been a rollercoaster ride for ecommerce… 

And as you finalize your holiday planning, we took a look at some trends to help you prepare for the rush that is the holiday season. 

Given the macro factors potentially affecting this year’s holiday shopping—from supply chain issues to inflation and economic uncertainty to increasing acquisition costs—it makes sense for brands to focus efforts on maximizing the traffic coming to your store through on-site messaging and conversion optimization.

Here are some trends we’re expecting this year, which you can prepare for now.

1. Deals, Deals, Deals

Users have become accustomed to low prices during the holiday season, and we expect it to be more true than ever this year as customers will be especially price-sensitive given current inflation and economic uncertainty. 

This is a time of year where even the most non-promotional brands can offer sales to drive incremental volume.

What should you do? Make it easy for customers to take action of your sales.

Make sure you’re speaking to what your promotions are throughout your site (not just on a homepage banner), and explain exactly how to take advantage of your promotional offer(s).  

For example, if you’re using a discount code, that code must be clearly shared sitewide with an explanation on where to type in the code in order to redeem (i.e. at checkout).

Check out how Splendid does this:

Splendid clearly messages their 30% off code-based discount at multiple points on the site, ensuring customers won’t have any questions about how to redeem their savings at checkout

With clear messaging, Splendid explains how its 30% off code-based discount works in various parts of the site, ensuring customers won’t have any questions about how to redeem their savings at checkout.

2. Black Friday-Cyber Monday isn’t a weekend anymore

Over the past few years, we’ve seen “Black Friday” sales start earlier and earlier—many stores launching some type of holiday promotion messaging right after Halloween. 

Customers are also planning to start shopping earlier this year. In some cases, before Halloween! 

According to NRF’s latest consumer survey, 44% of holiday shoppers say it’s better to purchase gifts and other seasonal items now because they believe inflation will continue to impact prices later in the year. Another 31% believe it’s best to purchase items now because the deals won’t get any better.

What you can do: If you’re still finalizing your promotional plans, consider pushing your sale dates up to start sooner to take advantage of early deal-seekers!

3. Turn holiday shoppers into repeat customers

Don’t forget about your loyalty program just because it’s the holidays. 

While there is some misconception that Black Friday shoppers are one-time purchase deal seekers, the holiday shopping period creates a great opportunity for stores to enroll more users in loyalty programs. 

Surveys have found that 57% of consumers spend more on brands to which they are loyal, and 66% of consumers will change their buying behavior to get the most out of loyalty benefits.

Consider using the holiday shopping period to reward your existing loyalty members.

How? Remind them why your loyalty program is worthwhile by offering them exclusive incentives like special shipping offers, early access discounts and increased rewards earnings. 

If you don’t have an existing loyalty program, reach out to an app like Smile.io or LoyaltyLion to start making plans to get a program in place for next year.

Take a peek at Live Bearded’s loyalty program, as as example. It incentivizes customers to spend more with the brand to unlock deeper rewards by moving up to the next tier.

Live Bearded’s rewards program incentivizes customers to spend more with the brand to unlock deeper rewards by moving up to the next tier.

4. Let users pay for their purchase in installments

As I’ve mentioned, customers continue to be concerned about rising prices and inflation. Because of this, they will be looking for whatever ways they can to save money (or at least, put off spending it for a bit). 

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services like Shop Pay Installments have steadily grown in popularity over the last few years; in 2021, 56 percent of U.S. consumers say they have used BNPL providers for retail purchases—up nearly 50% from July 2020.

While merchants do have to pay service fees associated with payment installment services, they’re often associated with stronger business that may make the higher fees worthwhile. 

According to Affirm, retailers that partner with the company see a 20% repeat purchase rate. And, customers often feel comfortable spending more for a purchase since they don’t have to pay the entire price up front.

Consider offering your customers a service like Shop Pay Installments or Four this holiday season.

Payment apps like Shop Pay Installments make it easy for customers to see what a delayed payment plan will look like when they’re at important points in the conversion funnel - like the product page or cart.

5. Gift cards remain a customer favorite

Gift cards have long been known as a late-shopper’s gift. I mean, who hasn’t frantically logged on to a favorite website Christmas morning to buy a last minute e-gift card? 

However, they’ve steadily been increasing in popularity for all shoppers over the last few years, and 2022 won’t be any different. Research from NRF has found that 

Tip: Make sure gift cards are easily findable on your site this holiday season, especially as you get closer to shipping cutoff dates. Robust apps like rise.ai and Govalo offer features not found with native Shopify gift cards—like scheduled sends and the ability to email the card directly to the recipient.

SASnola offers customers the ability to send digital gift cards directly to the recipient

Prepare ahead of time with the help of a checklist

We know there is quite a bit to go over throughout the holidays, but with a strong plan and strategy in place, you'll set yourself up for a successful holiday season.