Epsilon Releases 2011 Holiday Trend Report


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Consumer Spending Increases; Marketers Poised for a Strong Holiday Season

DALLAS (July 21, 2010) – According to Epsilon’s Holiday Trend Report 2011, the upcoming season looks to be a successful one as consumer spending continues to increase. Effective cross-channel marketing strategies with an early season push will improve results and increase revenue during the holiday season. The report provides key findings from the 2010 holiday season with a focus on the trends and metrics of each channel, the most lucrative marketing days of the week and weeks during the holiday season and a comparison to previous holiday seasons.

According to Jill LeMaire, Senior Director of the Strategic and Analytics Consulting Group at Epsilon, “Throughout the year companies are focused on selling a product or brand and their promotional strategies reflect this priority. However, during the fourth quarter, they are in the gifting business and the way consumers relate to the brand and buy products is entirely different than other times during the year. Incorporating data, analytics and testing strategies to holiday marketing campaigns is what sets companies apart during the seasonal competition for consumers’ attention. Recognizing what has proven successful in the past and which trends tend to shift will guide campaigns for this upcoming holiday season.”

Key findings from the Holiday Trend Report include:

• In 2010, online sales peaked the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Week 48);
• Call Center/Mail Order sales peaked twice, first in Week 46 and again in Week 49;
• Retail sales reached their peak in Week 51, the week leading up to Christmas day, and fell the next week.

Social Media and Mobile
• Social media was a key driver of sales on Thanksgiving Day;
• Consumers used mobile devices for website reviews, promotions, to check prices and to check-in while shopping at stores;
• Mobile video usage has high value and increased conversion rates.

• Holiday email open rates climbed 11% year over year despite high email volumes; However click rates fell 16% from 2009 to 2010;
• For the second consecutive year the highest open rates occurred the week of Black Friday;
• Open rates climbed in post-holiday weeks;
• Conversion rates were highest the week after Halloween, two weeks before the holiday email volume spike;;
• Mondays and Fridays saw the highest email volumes, compared to Tuesdays and Fridays in 2008 and 2009;
• Email delivered on Monday had the highest open rate and Friday the highest click rates; Wednesdays, which had low volume, had the highest conversion rates in 2010;
• In both 2009 and 2010 the words “Shipping”, “Free” and “Gift” were often used in subject lines, but did not necessarily drive opens.

“When it comes to holiday marketing, marketers shouldn’t simply follow their competitors. To be successful marketers should start early. Their strategies should differ by channel based on the way consumers interact with brands and should be fully integrated to leverage the value of each individual channel and touch point. Lastly, by monitoring performance metrics throughout the holiday season marketers will have a more successful fourth quarter,” said LeMaire.

Tips for multichannel marketers as they plan for the 2011 Holiday Season:
• Leverage the early season, there have been spikes in conversion in October for several years.
• Identify the best days for responses. Keep in mind, the days that worked last year may not work this year.
• Be prepared for Black Friday volume and open rates. Make your emails stand out and test early in the season.
• Include a strategy for the post-holiday surge in overall holiday planning.

The Holiday Trend Report 2011 examined more than 1.4 billion email messages from more than a dozen companies from October, November and December 2010 and part of January 2011. The findings also reflect a segment of historical purchasing activity from the Abacus Cooperative database from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2010.

About Epsilon
Epsilon is the industry’s leading marketing services firm, with a broad array of data-driven, multichannel marketing solutions that leverage consumer insight to help brands deepen their relationships with customers. Services include strategic consulting, acquisition and customer database technologies, loyalty management, proprietary data, predictive modeling and a full range of direct and digital agency services, including creative, interactive web design, email deployment, search engine optimization and direct mail production. In addition, Epsilon is the world’s largest permission-based email marketer. Epsilon is an Alliance Data company. For more information, visit www.epsilon.com or call 1.800.309.0505.

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