Survey: Will Holiday 2020 be Merry and Bright?


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Most everyone wants this year’s holidays to be merry and bright. After all, we deserve it after having to endure 2020!

While the year may have some competition for “the worst year ever,” it still has most of us ready for a bright spot or two. Each of us will surely do our best to make the holidays extra special — in part, to just enjoy the season, as well as to offset the negative vibes from the past 10 months. A recent survey of consumers from Valassis gives a window into what that looks like for most holiday celebrants this year.

What will we spend on the holidays?
For nearly 60% of the survey respondents, making the season “extra special” means making unplanned purchases just to treat themselves for the holiday. This continues and sharpens a trend, as reported in the 2020 Valassis Consumer Intel Report, for shoppers to be sensitive to their need for self-care as they endure the physical, financial, and emotional stresses of the year.

Certainly, some will spend less due to the economic impact of the pandemic, with 47% of respondents planning to spend less on the season in order to save more. However, nearly 40% anticipate spending the same or more on their holiday gatherings.

Regardless of the amount they spend, the pandemic era has increased consumer interest in savings and deals, and that is amplified for the holiday season. Sales started in October with major campaigns including Amazon Prime Day, and the deals typically released the weekend after Thanksgiving began weeks before the holiday. Black Friday and Cyber Monday took on a whole new meaning this year, extending well beyond the day or even the weekend.

Will we go to grandma’s house this year?
While “merry and bright” may be on our minds, few of us are likely to find the holidays to be exactly like the ones we used to know. Instead of wishing each other “Happy Holidays” in person, we are likely to turn to cards, emails, and Zoom calls as COVID concerns make traditional family-and-friends gatherings a much less appealing proposition — especially if we have elderly loved ones to protect.

As a result, the Valassis holiday survey found that 75% of revelers anticipate that COVID concerns will significantly impact their holiday plans, with more than half expecting to have smaller holiday gatherings or forgo them altogether. And generally, fewer people plan to host any holiday events at all.

However, nearly 20% of consumers who do plan to host or participate in holiday gatherings are looking forward to investing even more time, money, and resources to make the events particularly special. That statistic echoes the general sentiment uncovered in the survey. In our own ways and within our own personal boundaries and requirements, each of us will work hard to keep those visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.

As we look to the new year, staying in step with changing consumer behavior means being in tune with changes in consumer needs and expectations. That requires agile, proactive marketing for brands and retailers that hope to maintain market share.

Matthew Tilley
Matthew Tilley is a senior director of marketing for Valassis and leads content marketing for the company. He has more than 20 years of experience in digital advertising and consumer promotions to develop, communicate, and distribute ideas to make modern marketers more effective.


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