Retailers are in holiday mode, stocking shelves, hiring additional employees and gearing up their holiday marketing and advertising. According to The National Retail Federation, sales are expected to increase 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion during the 2014 holiday months of November and December. This is good news for retailers, but they will still need to provide shoppers with targeted promotions in order to incent consumers to spend money, and we have data that will be of value when trying to target and promote those last-minute campaigns.

Our latest Insight Report, focuses on who will be shopping this holiday season and when they will begin their shopping. CivicScience asked consumers the following question:

“When it comes to shopping for the winter holidays, what best describes you?”

  • I shop early – most of it is done before end of summer
  • I shop throughout the entire year and spread it out
  • I start shopping in the fall
  • I wait until the big sales start (i.e. Black Friday)
  • I am a last-minute shopper within the weeks prior
  • I don’t shop for these holidays

By cross-tabulating respondents against thousands of other CivicScience syndicated questions, we were able to go beyond basic demographics and find psychographic profiles of the different shoppers based on how they responded to the question. The report focuses on three different segments:

  • Fall shoppers or those who answered with “I start shopping in the fall”
  • Thanksgiving shoppers or those who answered “I wait until the big sales start…”
  • Last-minute shoppers, those who answered “I am a last-minute shopper within the weeks prior”

Here’s a look at some of the insights we found when comparing the three different shopping groups and the general population:

Marketing/advertising in the fall should be geared more towards middle-aged women, keeping in mind that 72% are 35+ years old and over half (54%) are over 45 or older. 62% have children or grandchildren who they will most likely be shopping for. When it comes to social media, 52% are on Facebook, which is less than the general population, however, they are more likely than the general population and other groups to be on Twitter. 51% say TV ads influence their purchasing behavior most (vs. Internet ads or social media comment feeds). Lastly, fall shoppers are more likely to consider themselves tightwads and have trouble spending money.

Marketing around Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be focused slightly more on women.  Although the Thanksgiving or sale shopper is more likely to be 24 and under and slightly more likely to be 35-44 years old, the majority (51%) are 25-54 years old. There is a parental status split; 39% have children, but no grandchildren and 39% are not parents. 41% of Thanksgiving shoppers have school-aged children living with them, which is about 37% more likely than the general population and other groups. Overall, shopping seems to be important to this group. They are more likely to be brand loyal, consider themselves spendthrifts and are more likely to be early adopters. Instagram is more popular among this group than the other shoppers.

Marketing during the week or two before the holidays will see a very different shopper in stores. Men are more likely to start their shopping during this time (this probably comes as no big surprise to retailers). Last-minute shoppers are more likely than the other groups to be 25-34 years old and are more likely than average to be 45-54. 35% have children, which is slightly more than average, however, 43% do not have children or grandchildren, which is more than the other groups. When it comes to regularly watching TV shows online, they are 2.5X as likely as the other shopping groups to watch online. Among the three shopping groups, last-minute shoppers are the most likely to be employed.

This data will help arm retailers with the information needed to alter advertising and marketing messages to appeal to the different shoppers.

View the complete and detailed Insight Report. (no login needed)