2021 US Holiday Insights 2020 Key Holiday Trends to Inform 2021 Planning

Will we see the world revert back to pre-pandemic holiday behaviors? Or are the shifts we saw in a locked down world likely to remain?

We captured holiday shoppers in the right mindset, focusing on:

Consumer Buying and Timing Trends
Vertical Performance Trends
Deep Dive into the DIY Gifter

2020 holiday e-commerce accelerated Brick-and-mortar buying was more limited, so buyers embraced digital

2% Growth

in US online holiday shopping, totaling $188.2 billion1

1 in $4

spent on holiday retail purchases came from digital2


in November e-commerce sales,
setting a new record1

Different audiences for each shopping period Reach different buyers based on their purchase timeframes

Early Shoppers
  • 2019
    Female, Age 55+
  • 2020
    Age 40-49, HHI $50-150K
Peak Shoppers
  • 2019
    Female, Age 18-44
  • 2020
    Age 50-59
Last-Minute Shoppers
  • 2019
    Male, Age 35-54
  • 2020
    Age 35-39, HHI $150K+

Holiday buyers skew older, more educated, and affluent Holiday vs. Non-Holiday Converters

Age 55-59 | 110 index
        60-64 | 108 index
            65+ | 106 index
HHI $100-150K | 109 index
             $150K+ | 112 index
Education Grad Degree | 109 index

Vertical standouts in each segment drive these trends Holiday vs. Non-Holiday Converters

Age 55-59 | 116 index | Retail
                    125 index | Media & Entertainment
        60-64 | 111 index | Automotive
HHI $100-150K | 114 index | Retail
             $150K+ | 184 index | Education
                             115 index | Travel
Education Grad Degree | 116 index | Retail
                                            113 index | Technology

2020 saw a hopeful holiday reveler Travel and restaurants saw substantial Q3 to Q4 surges

Holiday 2020 saw some reopening, and consumers were eager to get back out in the world. Comparing the pre-holiday period (August 17 – September 20, 2020) to the holidays (November 30, 2020 – January 3, 2021), we saw a substantial surge in travel and restaurant conversions. Media entertainment, such as sporting events and theater, were unsurprisingly down.

The growths in these verticals can be attributed to consumers purchasing gifts, planning vacations as COVID restrictions loosened, and spending more time with family and friends during the holidays.

+75.9% Retail
+51.7% Travel
+14.2% Restaurants
-4.6% Media & Entertainment

DIY gifters are crafty throughout the year Holiday DIYers are similar to non-holiday DIY audiences. Even a significant holiday like Christmas attracts the same demographic audience.

Holiday DIY 2020 keyword interest
  • Gender Female | Index 122
  • 30-44 | Index 109
    55-59 | Index 110
  • Children: Yes/No |
    Neutral Index
  • HHI $50-100k | Index 105
Non-Holiday DIY 2021 keyword interest
  • Gender Female | Index 111
  • Age 30-39 | Index 106
    60+ | Index 107
  • Children: Yes/No |
    Neutral Index
  • HHI $50-100k | Index 106

How to plan for this year’s holiday season Reach your audience at the right time

Start early

While the bulk of holiday conversions don’t happen until late November, we expect this year’s holiday trends to be similar to 2020. Many COVID restrictions have lifted, but there remains a significant audience who will eschew large social gatherings and consider delivery rather than in-person gifting.

Timing matters

In both pre-pandemic and post-pandemic years, younger shoppers consistently tend to be the last minute-shoppers. Tailor your messaging, depending on the timing of the season.

Know which verticals are important for holiday consumers

Be mindful of high-impact verticals during the holiday season. A retail marketer may want to invest in media during the holidays as consumer intent on purchasing gifts increases, whereas education advertisers should be wary of schools being closed during this period.

Consumer holiday highlights Find your audience with actionable insights

Digital dominates

More people are buying online than ever before, but they buy a bit earlier to ensure their gifts arrive on time. Invest in digital early to prime audiences and drive them to purchase your products.

Areas of Opportunity in Travel and Dining

Travel and restaurants saw substantial Q3 to Q4 surges (+52% and +14% respectively). Understand that consumers are eager to spend on experiences again, so tourism and experience gifts may be seeing a resurgence.

Understand the DIY Gifter

They are a crafter in general, start their projects early, and are looking for easy-to-make and easy-to-ship inexpensive gifts. Homegoods retailers can leverage these learnings to connect with crafters with customized messaging.

Next steps – Let us help you tap into these holiday insights.

Tap into the power of unique real-time data to drive brand and performance outcomes for your holiday budgets.