NetElixir’s Complete Guide To The 2022 Holiday Season

December 2022 holiday e-commerce calendar

The 2022 holiday season marks NetElixir’s 14th annual holiday forecast. A cornerstone of our forecast is our e-commerce holiday calendar, which details the expected online sales volume of crucial days throughout the holiday season. Marketers can use this calendar to know when their customers are more likely to be active online so they can more effectively schedule their most attractive holiday promotions and maintain their budget.

NetElixir’s Holiday Forecast: 7% YoY growth this year.

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2022 Holiday Trends Marketers Should Know

Gifting Holiday Cheer

Your shoppers want a return to normalcy. Past holiday seasons have been interrupted by new COVID-19 variants and altered traditions. This year, people want to celebrate and express holiday cheer with thoughtful gifts and celebratory, community moments. 

Recent Online Sales Boost

Since the latter half of August, NetElixir has noted upward trending online sales. Back-to-school sales have been fairly strong and are always a good indicator of how holiday sales will fare. The number of items per shopping cart has remained the same, while orders have decreased slightly, as consumers had to choose between essential and non-essential items amid rising prices. 

Demand is picking up, especially as retailers are promoting liquidation offers to clear their inventories to make room for holiday stock. These offers from September to October will segue into holiday promotions in November. 

Role of Mobile

The role of mobile in searches and orders is only growing. Between comparison checks with other online offers while browsing in store, downloading apps for exclusive deals, mobile-only offers, and simple convenience, people are opting to shop from their mobile phone more often. Categories like beauty and apparel have seen the most notable rise of mobile orders within NetElixir’s dataset.

Expanding Customer Journey

So many factors, influences, and touchpoints go into every purchase, so it is important for brands to be wherever their customers are searching and shopping. We expect marketplaces and retail media to account for 58-60% of total online holiday sales this year. TikTok emerged as 2022’s hottest advertising channel, rivaling Google and Meta. Social commerce will continue to pick up steam.

The 2022 holiday season will also be dictated by Google’s Performance Max campaigns. PMax leverages Google’s machine learning algorithm to serve the best ad in each moment. Ensure you feed Google’s algorithm with high-quality data, from your creative assets to your audience signals.

Stories As Empathy Agents

Self-expression and connection are more important than ever before — for both brands and individuals. Aggregated stories are shaping the future, fueled by TikTok and the ease of creating and promoting stories that are part of a larger trend. Brands can tap into the power of connection through thoughtful and authentic storytelling to share their values and culture. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, prefer to buy from brands that stand for something. This holiday season, consumers will continue to carefully research potential gifts to find the perfect one that aligns with their own values and needs. Authentic brand stories will drive deeper connections with new and returning customers.

What We Learned From The 2021 Holiday Season

Key e-commerce trends from the 2021 holiday season include:

  • Customers are increasingly savvy shoppers — if sales were not up to their expectations, they did not make a purchase.
  • The holiday season is only expanding. Customers are getting headstarts on their shopping with lucrative deals in September and October in hopes of avoiding inventory issues and stretching their budget to cover bigger gifts.
  • Single-day blowout events may not be enough to capture consumer interest. For the first time in a decade, Cyber Monday sales did not exceed Black Friday sales and Thanksgiving Day actually had the highest AOV.
  • Flexible financing options, such as BNPL and BOPIS, drove a high percentage of last-minute sales as customers liked the assurance of having the perfect gift now.

A Breakdown Of NetElixir’s 2022 Holiday E-Commerce Forecast

We feel optimistic going into the 2022 holiday season.

For the week of November 13th, we predict strong teaser promotions leading into Black Friday and the rest of Cyber 5. These teaser promotions and previews will be the next step from pre-holiday promotions that began in September and October to get people excited about their Black Friday must-have lists.

We foresee Black Friday promotions beginning the Monday before Thanksgiving on November 21st. As we saw last year during Cyber 5, (which starts on Thanksgiving Day and lasts until Cyber Monday), we expect week-long Black Friday deals that highlight a specific product or category each day. We believe the trend of deep discounting will continue throughout the entire week and that brands will get creative with their specific promotions to keep customers engaged.

The first two weeks of December will be highly competitive; however, there will be ample opportunities to capture consumer demand, so a powerful marketing strategy — as well as a backup plan to stay agile — will be necessary. Some large retailers may test creative promotional strategies this week or run special mini-holiday deals of their own. Smaller businesses will need to remain nimble and be ready with their game plans to seize any opportunities they can. 

The week of December 11th, a day or two before the last shipping day, will most likely see a rise in BOPIS commerce. Many retailers will begin lowering their ad spend this week to better ensure online orders arrive in time for Christmas morning. However, this could be a time for smaller brands to promote their BOPIS options or brick-and-mortar offerings, so be sure to showcase every advantage your store has and leverage the greater online activity inspired by big brand deals and last-minute frenzies.

The week leading up to Christmas will continue to see a surge in BOPIS orders, as well as last-minute mobile purchases. However, inventory issues are likely to persist this week as many retailers stocked up early; be sure to keep your website updated with what you have in stock and offer alternatives for popular sold out items.

Finally, deep discounts on post-holiday inventory will influence the “Me-Buy” week following Christmas and leading up to New Year’s. Consider changing your promotional language to highlight your sales and cater to your high-value customers’ self interest.

Methodology Behind Our E-Commerce Forecast

Since 2013, NetElixir has been releasing our E-Commerce Holiday Calendar to forecast the day-by-day online sales volume to help marketers create an effective holiday strategy. We aggregate and analyze weekly data of website visits, website sales, channel-wise investments, and CPC data across different retail industries within our dataset. We track this data throughout the year, segregating based on device, and compare it to the previous years’ week-wise key metrics. Using our proprietary customer analytics technology, LXRInsights, to track and analyze the real-time weekly data.

Our forecasting model offers a significant weight (15%) to back-to-school data to predict holiday sales. The model also places 20% weightage on the prior-year holiday trends and emphasizes inflection points, if any. As we see 2022 as the first “real” post-pandemic holiday season, we expect customers to spend more to create a memorable holiday experience for themselves and loved ones.

Additional Holiday Resources

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