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October 2020 Holiday Marketing Analysis

Things are heating up, and it’s not the weather. While September saw brands playing it cool on the holiday front, October took a turn and we’re feeling more festive already. While this is just the start of a mad dash to December, let’s take a look at what October had to offer.

Winter (and Holidays) are Coming…

… And it seems Santa, and most large retailers, will be going head to head with Amazon this year. Settling into October, our team anticipated Amazon Prime Day and the tsunami of sales it would bring from other department stores and digital native brands. Let’s just say, it did not disappoint. Of the brands we tracked, the majority hoped to catch consumers prior to Amazon’s 48-hour sale by launching huge discounts the weekend before Prime Day through October 14th. Department stores like Saks, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomie’s all offered between 30%-75% off, and Best Buy strategically posed a “Black Friday Price Guaranteed Sale” on Prime Day, attempting to win out techies over Amazon. Target said, “let’s have our own Prime Day” and advertised “Target Deal Days” on Oct 13th and 14th, and Walmart caught every parent’s eye with “Big Save Starts Now” on toys and tech gifts for all. Thanks to Amazon, brands are feeling the holiday heat much earlier than Black Friday, and us shoppers are ahead of our gifting game.

Department Stores are Sending the Most Emails, But Also the Most Personalized.

Brands are still sending too many emails, and department stores tend to be the biggest culprits. The good news? Of the retailers we tracked, department stores also sent the most personalized and behaviorally-targeted emails, with nearly a third of their messages asking us to complete our purchase, recommending similar products, or highlighting a related category.
On the other hand are brands such as Apple, Home Depot and Best Buy, sending less than 10 emails per month, none of which were personalized to our interests or past shopping behaviors.
Like most things in 2020, it leaves us wondering, “Why can’t it land somewhere in the middle?!”

Brands are Using their Voices and Encouraging Customers to Use Theirs, Too

2020 has been a year of speaking up and taking a stance, and retail brands are doing the same. An interesting correlation we noticed this month is that brands that are outwardly recognizing COVID-19 precautions in their emails, are the same brands encouraging consumers to vote early and acknowledging the importance of Election Day. In fact, some retailers, like digital native brand Everlane, mentioned Election Day more than the upcoming holiday season.

With brands having such a large platform and reach, it leads us to believe that consumers will begin to expect these messages from retailers, and if brands remain silent, it will be noticed by their customers.

Walking into November, we’re predicting homebound shoppers (like ourselves) will be stress shopping, making progress on holiday wish lists and probably treating themselves a time, or two. How will brands fight for our attention amidst the holiday frenzy? Tune in next month for November’s results.

To see what went down in September, take a look at https://smarterhq.com/blog/sep...