The Holiday Creep*: Online Retailers Engage Deal-Seeking Shoppers Earlier in 2012

Kylee Hall
November 28, 2012

The holiday shopping creep is a trend that’s been developing over the last couple of years as ecommerce has continued to grow. We've seen consumers flock to search engines to find out when stores are opening on Black Friday, what kind of promotions they’ll be offering, when online sales start and more.

In trying to capture consumers’ attention, retailers have begun their online marketing campaigns for holiday promotions a bit earlier each year—further evidenced by this year’s paid search trends. Overall, marketers increased investments in online advertising during the 2012 holiday season. A large increase in paid search spend and clicks occurred each day across the five popular shopping days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, compared to 2011.

Holiday 2012 Online Retail Metrics

Thanksgiving showed the most surprising results with a 59% increase in paid search spend versus 2011 indicating an earlier start to this year’s holiday season shopping. Consumers were online early to look for the best deals over the five-day holiday shopping period. Retailers responded with increased spend and promotions that stretched across the five days, and even into Tuesday in some cases.

Holiday 2012 Online Retail Thanksgiving Weekend

Cyber Monday continued to be the blockbuster day for retailers online, garnering more clicks and impressions than any other day. Consumers responded by spending 30% more online versus Cyber Monday in 2011 according to the IBM Benchmark data released yesterday.

While Black Friday may retain its position as the one day of the year to find the best deals in store, we may see Cyber Monday start to dissolve into several days or even a week of online promotions and discounts, as retailers compete for the attention of consumers’ wallets earlier in the holiday season.

*The “creep” as it’s used in this blog post is in relation to “spreading” or “growing” – not the “creep” you may encounter at your company holiday party.

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