Tag Archive for: occasions

Christmas in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year, even during a pandemic. Keep reading for stats on timeless Christmas themes to lean into this year while pivoting to the realities of COVID.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial/ethnic segment celebrate it, and 73% of people view Christmas as the biggest holiday of the year.

Every year, consumers of all backgrounds traditionally ring in the holiday by spending time with loved ones, putting up festive decorations, giving gifts, and enjoying seasonal foods. And as Americans adapt to the pandemic, our research suggests they will continue to incorporate these traditional sources of comfort and joy into their holiday.

Download an excerpt of our webinar presentation, “Multicultural Holiday Behaviors During COVID – Food, Beverage, and Alcohol.”

This year, brands are leaning into core Christmas themes in COVID-relevant ways.

For instance, McCormick reminds viewers that even if you can’t get together with your family this year, “their dishes can still make it to the table.” And Lowe’s emphasizes the importance of home as a central part of our lives. This year especially, with so much time spent at home, Lowe’s highlights home decorating as a gift that “brings joy to all.”

These core consumer Christmas values won’t be abandoned just because the circumstances have changed. You can, and should, still activate against these themes. But keep in mind that you also need to know how things are different to understand where and how to tweak messaging.

Our recent data gives us insight on the shifts you can expect to see in consumer attitudes and behaviors as they modify their plans to celebrate the holiday safely. Consider these high-level consumer trends as you prepare your final holiday push for maximum impact.

1. Consumers will celebrate in 2020, but celebrate differently.

2 in 5 consumers expect that the pandemic will prevent them from carrying out their usual Christmas plans. That may mean abstaining from large family gatherings, nixing travel plans, or forgoing festive outings.

Continue to activate on core Christmas themes like family – but do so in a way that’s relevant during the pandemic. For instance, recent holiday spots by Etsy and Chewy feature family members opening presents with one another over video chat.

Alternatively, shake things up by leaning into the probability that the pandemic will likely create new activities and traditions. Show how your product or service can inspire new ways to celebrate because of the pandemic. For instance a recent spot by Maker’s Mark features roommates getting together to decorate their fire escape with Christmas lights, then huddling outside on it to watch a virtual fireplace on their TV while sipping cups of holiday cheer. Or illustrate how new quarantine activities can inspire Christmas gift ideas this year, like Best Buy.

2. Consumers prioritize convenience and safety for holiday shopping this year.

With no end to the pandemic in sight, consumers are modifying holiday shopping habits as they seek convenience and safety. Many are looking for contactless options: 67% of people say they’ll probably shop online more for the holidays this year.

Telling people how they can shop online for your products needs to be central to your campaign. For example, Walmart recently debuted a heartwarming and relatable spot highlighting everything we now buy online these days to cope with the pandemic. And Sam’s Club customers can take a virtual tour of the Griswold “Christmas Vacation” house as they shop the festive décor and gifts Sam’s Club offers.

3. Many people are still struggling financially as a result of the pandemic and economic recession.

Half of all Americans worry that they can’t afford holiday shopping this year.

Show sensitivity towards your customers by offering extended discounts. For instance, Target and Home Depot are offering Black Friday deals all season long. Additionally, signal that you care by supporting vulnerable communities financially or through donated goods. Amazon, recently announced plans to donate to over 1,000 charities to support communities hit hardest by the events this year. And Visa encourages consumers to shop local this holiday season and give back to the small businesses at the heart of their communities.

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2020 Holiday Consumer Behavior: Thanksgiving in the Age of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how American consumers gather for Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday this year. Read on for insight into the consumer mindset and advice on how to best position your brand for success in this untraditional holiday season.

Thanksgiving. The word immediately calls to mind iconic images of Americana: roast turkey, family gatherings, football, the Macy’s Day parade. But Thanksgiving isn’t just a truly American holiday—it’s also one of the most celebrated! Our research from 2019 revealed that 84% of Americans regularly celebrate Thanksgiving, making it the second most celebrated holiday for Americans after Christmas. White and Black consumers are most likely to celebrate, while Hispanic and Asian celebration rates are lower, perhaps due to members of these segments that have recently immigrated and not yet adopted the holiday.

Thanksgiving is normally a popular occasion for Americans to travel and reunite with family and friends. Last year more than 26 million airline passengers were screened by the TSA during the week of Thanksgiving. And a survey we ran in 2019 revealed that 59% of Americans reported typically celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family, while 40% reported celebrating with friends.

But this year, nothing is normal. When we surveyed consumers in August 2020, 44% already expected the COVID-19 pandemic would interfere with their normal Thanksgiving plans. Since then, coronavirus cases and fatalities in the United States have risen dramatically.

Another survey we fielded in September 2020 found that only 19% of American adults reported feeling safe travelling on commercial airplanes. And the CDC recently issued official guidelines recommending that people stay close to home and only gather with immediate family members on Thanksgiving to lower the chances of spreading the virus. These fears are not unfounded. In October, Canadian officials linked rising case numbers all over the country to Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations

The coronavirus pandemic will likely result in a larger number of small Thanksgiving gatherings across the United States. And this means that many Americans—perhaps 18%—will be cooking their own Thanksgiving meals for the first time. Despite these changes, many other aspects of Thanksgiving 2020 will look the same as any other year. 

For example, the top things that people associate with Thanksgiving (spending time with family, eating delicious foods, cooking, baking, and watching football) are still possible, in some form, during the pandemic. And maintaining these traditions will likely be a welcome reminder of more normal times.

Brands can use these challenges to connect with consumers. McCormick’s new ad does this by showing how their products help create a sense of togetherness and ensure success despite separation. They encourage people to cook their relatives’ signature dishes as a way to be together. And they use the image of a young woman fumbling with a turkey—an inexperienced Thanksgiving cook—to remind viewers that “it’s gonna be great” despite the challenges

Thanksgiving is also a crucial time of year for brands because of Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This is yet another aspect of American life that will look different in 2020. According to recent research, two thirds of consumers plan to shop online more for the holidays this year, while 60% plan to put off shopping until it’s absolutely necessary.

Brands and stores have already begun to adjust their Black Friday campaigns in expectation of untraditional shopping patterns.

A common move is to expand your online strategy well beyond Cyber Monday as consumers fear shopping in crowded stores. For example, Target and other retailers are advertising that all deals are available both in-store and online. Retailers are also fighting against consumers’ instinct to hold off on shopping by offering Black Friday deals throughout November.

Unfortunately, about half of consumers are worried they won’t be able to afford holiday shopping this year. Brands can activate on this moment by showing how their products can figure in homemade or low-cost gifts. For example, Ashley Home Store released a commercial showing two children who make their parents a simple dinner and decorate the table with homemade decorations. The parents love it! And with the slogan, “celebrate the magic of home,” Ashley Home Store is also subtly reminding people of the importance of staying home and safe during the pandemic. Similarly, Ross advertises their Christmas bargains by saying, “you don’t have to spend a lot to give a lot to the ones who mean the most.” By offering extended sales, brands can also show they recognize the economic challenges many are now facing.

This Thanksgiving and Black Friday will look different than those past. But that doesn’t mean marketing is out. Brands can still connect with consumers by activating on tried and true themes and reminding people they understand the challenges they face.

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’Tis the Season for Insights into Consumers’ Christmas Attitudes and Behaviors
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Christmas is a widely celebrated and much-loved holiday across racial and ethnic segments. And the associated spend is massive—more than 1 trillion dollars in 2018! Brands should go big during this festive season to ensure they capture their share of America’s increasingly diverse population.

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Win the New Wave of Consumers

November 19th, 2019 | 2PM

Our recent research on holidays identifies the major similarities and differences in how consumers across racial and ethnic segments think about and celebrate Christmas. Brands should use these learnings to ensure their Christmas activations have wide reach and resonate deeply. Get in the holiday spirit with these three takeaways, and make sure to download a sample of the research, below

1. Across segments, most consumers’ Christmas celebrations include family time, food, and gifts. Brands can have mass appeal by activating on these shared elements.

From your personal experience, what do you need to celebrate Christmas properly?

2. Even though common elements appear across segments, culture shapes how consumers celebrate Christmas. For example, many Hispanics’ biggest celebration is with family on Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), not Christmas day. And Hispanics of Mexican descent often enjoy tamales during this gathering. Brands can differentiate themselves by showing consumers how their product(s) naturally support culturally-specific celebrations.

The way I celebrate Christmas is different from a typical “American” Christmas.

3. While Christmas stems from a common religious heritage, the expression of faith can vary widely. For example, Black consumers are more likely to pray, while Hispanics go to church. In order to achieve an authentic portrayal of Christmas, reflect the nuances in faith for each segment.

From your personal experience, what do you need to do to celebrate Christmas properly?

Download the research.

Help Yourself to a Second Serving of Thanksgiving Insights

Our latest research on Holidays and Occasions identifies where segments differ in their Thanksgiving attitudes and behaviors. Commonly associated with family time and eating turkey, this holiday actually has segment-specific nuances that brands must understand in order to win multicultural consumers. 

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Win with Experiences – Adapt to How Diverse America Engages Through Holidays and Occasions

November 13th | 2PM

Here are three key insights from our findings that will help your brand authentically and effectively connect with multicultural consumers on this special day. Scroll down to download a sample of the research.

1.

African Americans’ have bigger Thanksgiving celebrations and incorporate more non-food elements. Use activities like watching football and watching a parade as opportunities to connect with the segment. Reflect the wide array of activities in your content to show you understand them.

What do you need to do to celebrate Thanksgiving properly?

2. 

Both Hispanic and African Americans are more likely to involve non-family members in their Thanksgiving celebrations. Highlight the friendship and community component of Thanksgiving when activating with these segments.

Who do you celebrate Thanksgiving with?

3. 

Both Hispanic and African Americans see Thanksgiving as a time for reflection. Do not be flip in your activations—your message should clearly connect with the holiday’s spirit of gratitude and the many ways people recognize this.

What do you need to celebrate Thanksgiving properly?

Download a Sample of the Research.

Spooky Stats to Keep You up at Night: The GenYZ Halloween Insights Deep Dive
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With Halloween a little over a month away, brands are starting to roll out their creepy (or festive!) campaigns. Keep the following generation-specific insights in mind while you finalize your campaign or consider a quick social media activation. Beware…creepy but creative activations and frighteningly useful insights lie ahead!

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Understanding America’s Cultural Transformation

October 16th | 2:00 PM

1. Eating and giving out candy is a major component of most consumers’ Halloween. Build activations related to trick-or-treating activities and sweets for all ages, not just children.

2. While Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to describe their Halloween celebrations as lively and rowdy, 18-28 year-olds are the most likely to celebrate Halloween at a party. When targeting 18-28 year-olds, tap into these younger consumers’ exceptionalist tendencies with aspirational, lively party vibes. This approach is particularly well-suited for alcohol brands that have the right to play in the party space.

Americans of all ages celebrate Halloween with a wide variety of activities, not only trick-or-treating and parties. Brands have numerous avenues to make themselves relevant such as home decorations, costumes, and haunted houses. Pursue options that allow your brand to seamlessly fit into the Halloween season.

Trick or Treat: A Deep Dive into Halloween
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Boo! Halloween is quickly approaching and many brands are putting the finishing touches on their spooky holiday campaigns. Use the following insights to make sure your approach hits the mark with diverse America.

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Win with Experiences: How Young Americans Engage Though Holidays and Occasions

November 20th, 2019 
2:00 PM

HALLOWEEN affords brands the opportunity to activate in a lighthearted way, be they a candy brand or not. Our latest research on Holidays and Occasions includes a Halloween specific deep dive. Our research revealed interesting insights on how consumers’ perception of Halloween differ from their celebrations, and we have provided you with great brand activations that align with our insights.

1. There is a disconnect between people’s perception of Halloween and how they actually celebrate it. Celebrate all the preparations consumers make for Halloween, rather than just the “night of” party-related festivities.

2. Multicultural consumers are more likely to think that Halloween costumes are culturally appropriative. When activating around Halloween, be careful about what costumes and identities you portray. Steer clear of costumes that involve tropes associated with minority identities.

3. Almost a third of each segment attends a haunted house during the Halloween season. Haunted houses afford brands an extended time period to activate with consumers on the Halloween theme.

Day of the Dead: A Time for Tradition
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Take a deep dive into how consumers perceive Day of the Dead. This excerpt from Collage Group’s comprehensive Holidays and Occasions research reveals important insights into consumer perceptions of this predominantly Mexican holiday.

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Understanding America’s Cultural Transformation

Wednesday, October 9th | 2:00 PM

Day of the Dead is an important Mexican holiday that often gets tacked on to Halloween advertisements. We heard from many brands that they do not completely understand this holiday or their right-to-play in the space. Our latest research on holidays and occasions helps elucidate how Day of the Dead differs from Halloween, how consumers celebrate it, and solid brand activations around the holiday. Download a sample of the research:

1. Hispanics who celebrate Day of the Dead perceive it as more traditional and religious than Halloween. Do not conflate Day of the Dead with Halloween. Day of the Dead activations should incorporate traditional and religious elements such as creating altars and visiting graves.

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2. Day of the Dead is a predominantly Mexican holiday, and the way consumers celebrate varies by acculturation level. Utilize social media for low-cost, targeted activations that highlight acculturation-specific nuances in Day of the Dead celebrations.

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Want to Win the Holidays? Start Early with these Essential Consumer Insights
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Win the Holidays All Year Long.

This year, research into holidays and occasions was the most requested topic among our clientele of America’s top brands. Many of the calendar holidays are cultural touchpoints that represent billions of dollars in consumer expenditure each year. Whether it’s Mother’s Day, St. Patricks day, Kwanzaa or Christmas – our research can help you understand which audience has the largest buying potential – and how to reach them.

Before you dive into specific holiday insights, take a minute to review the three learnings below that reveal general holiday attitudes among consumer segments.

1.

Consumers value both tradition and individualism in their celebration, particularly Hispanic and African Americans. Show consumers that you understand this tension by illustrating how these segments can use your brand to individualize holiday traditions.

2.

Hispanic and Asian consumers are less likely to celebrate “traditional” American holidays like Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. To win with these consumers around these holidays, focus on segment-relevant themes such as immigration and family.

3.

Consumers are least likely to take offense at brand advertisements that activate on cultural holidays related to their race/ethnicity. If you choose to activate on a cultural holiday, use authentic members of the culture to communicate that the relevant segment is okay with the activation to diffuse concern from other segments.

While it may be convenient to group Holy Week and Easter together, our research shows that U.S. Latinos understand and celebrate them very differently.

In many Latin American countries, Holy Week tends to be celebrated as widely – or more widely – than Easter. Many towns and churches organize processions and events throughout the week to commemorate Jesus’s death and resurrection, but pay less attention to Easter Sunday. Those Hispanics who only celebrate Holy Week may do so per traditions in their home countries.

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