Halloween has just ended and immediately consumer marketing has shifted to the upcoming holiday season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and our goal is to provide you with data driven information to help you take advantage of the holiday 2016 selling season. The PwC Holiday Outlook is like a bible to anyone who follows retail trends. And guess what this year’s theme is? Digital EVERYTHING. #YES

In the coming weeks we will take a deeper dive into content ideas to help you capitalize on these insights, but here are the important facts to consider before planning your holiday 2016 strategy.

Holiday 2016 projections:

  • 84% of shoppers will spend the same or more than they did last year.
  • Shoppers plan to spend an average of $650 on gifts for others.
  • Women will spend an average of $500 more than other shoppers (no surprise there)!
  • Both digital and mobile shopping are up 25% over last year.
  • Brands will be increasing social media spend by 66% during the holiday season.
  • 90% of Gen Z (born after 1996) relate to influencers on a personal level.
  • “The #1 factor influencing holiday spending: salary and disposable income.”

What are consumers planning on purchasing?

  • 42% want gift cards, 31% prefer experiential gifts while 27% would like physical gifts.
  • Consumers like shopping for themselves, traveling and enjoying entertainment more than receiving physical gifts from others.
  • Almost half of all households are pet owners and will spend an average of $62 this year on gifts for their pets.
  • Millennials want to receive gifts around experiences such as travel and entertainment.
  • Artisanal, hand-crafted gifts are uber trendy. “Some 33% of consumers told us they will buy handmade gifts this holiday season.”
  • Clothes, shoes and accessories is what Gen Z is all about. They also love Black Friday more than other generations.
  • Local, independent brands matter a lot to consumers. 75% of consumers will shop locally while 56% will seek independent retailers.
  • 36% of consumers surveyed will spend more with brands that give to charity and other donations. People care about brands that translate values into action.

Good news for influencers:

  • 80% of millennial Moms are avid blog readers and really trust bloggers for purchasing decisions vs. advertising.
  • Gen Z (born after 1996) also LOVES influencers because they trust them and relate to them on a personal level. “They like to hear from influencers who actually believe in and enjoy the products they’re describing. Over half of them have purchased a product promoted by one of their influencers.”
  • Gen Z and millennials learn about brands via word of mouth, social media and search engines (SEO and Pinterest).

Include this stat in a pitch:

“The majority of Gen Z (60%) and more than half of
millennials (54%) learn about brands via influencers and
peer recommendations on social media. Retailers are taking
note, engaging consumers by identifying and cultivating early
adopters of their products, who then spread the word.” – PwC Holiday Outlook


When posting to social media, it’s best to be yourself. Be casual and conversational. Don’t sound like a commercial or be preachy. People want to connect on a personal level. Authenticity is a must.

Shopping Season Cadence:

View all important shopping dates on the SC calendar.

  • Because of deals that are happening year-round, Black Friday shopping has been declining year over year: 59% of consumers surveyed shopped BF in 2015 and 51% plan to shop it in 2016.
  • Thanksgiving morning is fairly popular with 40% of consumers shopping online before the big meal! Who knew?!
  • Black Friday Week (Nov 25-28): only 21% of consumers plan to complete their holiday shopping during Black Friday Week, which indicates further erosion of a clear-cut shopping season.
  • Small Business Saturday (the day after Black Friday) is expected to see 14% growth over last year.
  • 79% of consumers will complete their shopping in less than 4 weeks between November 28 and December 24. Take note of important dates in December, such as Green Monday or Free Shipping Day.

We HIGHLY suggest downloading the PwC Holiday Outlook and reading through this epic document to really understand all holiday 2016 insights. In the next few weeks, we’ll share content and promotional ideas to really help you make the most of the holiday season!