Holiday shoppers are looking for your help: Are you listening?

Byline: Scott Falzone, Managing Director, Google

The launch of the next generation smartphone rings in the holiday season for the Telecom industry. The holiday season boosts demand for older smartphone models too. As an example, when the iPhone X launched, sales for the iPhone 7 (previous year’s version) peaked.1

When it comes to making a purchase decision, holiday shoppers are resourceful, but they are also looking for help. Today, 76% of U.S. holiday shoppers over 18 use three or more channels.2 That’s a huge number of people searching on their smartphone, visiting a retailer site, or going into a store to uncover new brands and products or rediscover old favorites.

Here are some recent shopping behavior trends and insights for how brands can better assist shoppers with navigating this bustling shopping period.

‘Help me find you — wherever I am, whenever I want’

Research shows that 61% of shoppers are open to buying from new retailers during the holiday season, and in the 2017 holiday season, almost half of them did.3 This year, we’re seeing that people are more open to discovering and trying new brands than ever before.

Continuing to provide assistance via mobile is critical. Shoppers are turning to their smartphones for shopping help with even greater frequency. In fact, in the past two years, searches for “shopping app” have jumped 90%, while searches for “online shopping” have grown 180% in that same period.4

It’s also worth noting that video has become a favorite research tool for holiday shoppers. In fact, 68% of consumer smartphone shoppers turn to YouTube to do product research,5 and there has been a 55% YoY growth in views in the Telco/Tech category during the holidays on YouTube.6

We’re also seeing that shopping is not centralized to the typical promotion days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. People are always shopping — before, during, and after the holidays. In fact, only about 18% of shoppers consolidate all of their shopping to the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday weekend, and by the Black Friday-Cyber Monday period, shoppers have already completed 42% of their holiday shopping.7 An always-on strategy is critical to reach people whenever they need you — not just when it suits your campaign calendar.

When it comes to finding what they want, people expect brands to return just the right results, tailored to them. More than half of consumers say they were interested in seeing personalized content when shopping.8 They wanted things such as relevant deals from sites they regularly shop or a reminder of where they left off last time they visited a site. And 4 in 10 holiday shoppers are looking for retailers to remember personal details, like past sizes and items they’ve purchased.9  We see this in Telecom too: With consumers holding onto their phones for longer periods of time—as of August, nearly a quarter of iPhone owners had models older than two years10—taking a personalized approach to reaching and retaining consumers is more important than ever.

Even when searching for gifts for others, shoppers want results that are more specific and personalized to their immediate needs. For instance, searches for “gift + ____ year old” have seen a two-year growth of over 100%, while searches for “gifts for dad” have grown over 80% during that same period.11

This holiday season, a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer acceptable. Listen to your customers. Anticipate what they want. And deliver it to them in a personalized and seamless way.