Shorter days and colder weather signal the start of holiday shopping and holiday marketing campaigns.

The good news is that the 2018 holiday season retail sale outlook is very optimistic, with a strong year forecast overall. Sales (excluding gasoline and autos) are expected to grow 5.1%, better than the 4.2% growth in 2017, according to the forecast by Kiplinger. Online sales are expected to grow 15% and in-store sales 3.5%, their best showing since 2014.

In addition, based on the estimate by Deloitte, consumers will spend about $1,226, on average, during the holiday season. That amount nearly doubles for those with a household income of $100K or more.

Above all, the holiday season is a time to capture most of your retail sales, make profits, and make merry. Consumers want to spend on personal items and gifts, and advertisers want to make the most of the red-hot market.

Here are some tips to attract consumers and totally ace the holiday season.

1. Plan budget according to a prolonged shopping season

Every year, holiday searches ramp up in early October and continue through the holiday season. In fact, Bing Network recorded over 250,000 searches containing the magic words "black Friday" in October alone. Data from the Microsoft-owned search engine showed that overall, three out of four consumers continue to shop after the cyber week, and search volumes sustain through the end of the year.

So, hopefully, you started your holiday campaigns in October to capture early starters and also help you influence shoppers in the later shopping cycles by remarketing to them. If you haven't started your campaigns yet, now is the time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of John Lee

John Lee is a a learning strategist at Microsoft, where he creates training experiences for Bing Ads employees and customers. He is a digital advertising professional with experience in PPC, display advertising, social advertising, SEO, and analytics.

LinkedIn: John Lee