Are CPG Brands Ready for a Very Merry Christmas?

Perihan El Etreby
Copywriter at - M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath University
December 22, 2021
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This year's holiday season differs significantly from the 2020 holiday season in terms of vaccination availability. People are seeking brands for ideas on how to celebrate in unique ways. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) firms, which have always been a part of holiday preparations, now have a particularly powerful influence on how people shop and enjoy this season. In the U.S, food and beverage is the most commonly purchased category during holidays, driven by celebratory occasions like Thanksgiving (82%), New Year’s Eve (79%) and Halloween (61%).

The most ingenious CPG companies have realized the necessity for data-driven marketing to keep up with these rapid developments and cope with shifts in consumer behavior. They're showcasing their brands to customers with the right messages at the right moment this holiday season, provided by Google consumer signals and other tools to deliver personalization at scale.

Here are some of the things CPGs need to consider during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.

The roles of brick-and-mortar and digital are interconnecting

Last year, in-store shopping was more intent-based and transactional as shoppers had less ability to browse in person. People want to replicate much of the in-store experience at home, so digital shopping has become more immersive. People started to go after the styling and how-to videos, live fashion displays, augmented reality try-ons, sales associate messaging, and personalized recommendations to get the closest in-store experience at home, since they cannot physically be there.

People love the in-store experience, especially during family celebrations like Christmas, so brands need to reach their audience where they are located, inside the store, and influence their buying decision there. In this new hybrid reality, it’s essential now to create convenient, frictionless, omnichannel offerings that bring the store experience online and the digital experience to stores. 

The Biggest Change Year-Over-Year

There are some striking comparisons between last year's holiday season and this year's. The threat of COVID, in particular, continues, although in the guise of different varieties. Yet, this year, we're confronted with several new and existing issues and concerns, including inflation and labor shortages, to name a few. So this would make you think: What will be the biggest change—on the consumer side—from the holidays in 2020 to the holidays in 2021? In the 2021 Holiday Report for CPG Professionals by Field Agent, they have put this specific question to 1,250 holiday shoppers, and below are the top answers along with some shoppers’ quotes. Shoppers are torn on whether 2021 means less or more spending, less or more family time, and less or more in-store shopping.

So what shoppers are thinking?

The Holiday Success Formula 

How does a brand win holiday retail? The formula below isn't particularly spectacular, but it's a tried-and-true prescription for holiday success for CPG companies...

Move your product off the shelf and out the door this year

Invest your promotional spend wisely in 2021, adding fuel to your holiday sales. As another CPG professional said, “[In Q4, use] a combination of marketing and advertising to boost awareness and in-store activity to entice shoppers…”

Get data and visuals demonstrating that demand for your SKUs exceeded the supply

Now that you've created a demand for your products, be prepared to gather data and images/visuals to persuade retail buyers that you're deserving of even more space, displays, and other considerations next year. 

Your retail partners are also constantly trying to outperform competition and increase Christmas sales. Retailers are putting all their focus on the holiday season in 2021, probably more than any other year. They collaborate with vendors to create comprehensive marketing plans, as well as attractive promotions to drive in more consumers and gain market share. 

So, how can you, as a CPG, benefit from that?

  • First, work hand-in-hand with retailers, via promotional plans, data-sharing, and other vehicles, to make their holiday season—not just your holiday season— the best ever. 
  • Second, base your ideas on mutually beneficial terms and realities during the sales phase. Consider how your practices can be understood and expressed in ways that benefit both sides.
  • The third and most critical component is data collection. Consider discussing your findings with your buyer as you learn more about your category and shopper. They are usually ready to learn from your experience, especially if it is objective and based on evidence.

If you’re wondering about what your customers are looking for this holiday season, the chart below can give you a good insight.

CPG executives are often unaware of the range and depth of solutions available to assist them in winning holiday sales. Even if they do, they might not know where to begin. Get intouch, and get introduced to the world’s smartest retail media network, where your data-driven campaigns can display your ads to your target customer, at the right time, and the right place (in-store where the buying decision is made). 

Very Happy Holidays!

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