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Holiday shopping insights to guide your 2024 retail media strategy

With just a few days remaining until Christmas, the holiday shopping season is well underway. At Threefold, we consistently take a data-driven approach to retail media campaigns. So, what does data tell us about the 2023 holiday shopping season, and how should marketers put these learnings to use when crafting 2024 strategies? 


To create retail media campaigns that reach shoppers across the marketing funnel, from awareness through to conversation and loyalty, brand marketers must consider every party
Beth Gerrard is an Assistant Account Manager at Threefold.

Black Friday data

Black Friday total retail spend increased +2.5% year-over-year (YoY), according to data shared during a recent Mastercard “2023 Holiday Retail Trends” webinar. The largest growth was seen in e-commerce, which grew +8.5% YoY. In-store sales saw a more gentle increase of +1.1% YoY.


Key to these sales are retailers’ promotional strategies this year.

Sector

YoY Change (%)

Total Retail (Excluding Auto)

+2.5

E-commerce

+8.5

In-store

+1.1

Apparel

+6.5

Jewelry

+11.6

Restaurants

+6.7

Source: Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.


This year’s holiday shopper has improved purchasing power due to decreased inflation and an improved job market, with unemployment in the US near historic lows. But not all shoppers have gone on an end-of-the-year spending spree, as some remain cautious and opt for flexible payment options, such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) to defer spending, according to insights shared during the webinar. 

Consumers are navigating the holiday season well and taking advantage of holiday promotions, giving them ample choice as they hunt for gifts for everyone on their list.

Steve Sadove, Senior Advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks, Inc.


While the data reflects strong e-commerce growth, it remains important to consider brick-and-mortar stores in developing a comprehensive retail media strategy for 2024. At Threefold, we believe that in-store retail media activations in the US represent the future of the industry, as retailers digitize their stores to better support rich, omnichannel campaigns.


We’ve seen the importance of the store in crafting and executing retail media campaigns as part of our 15-plus years of experience building and operating retail media networks in the UK. Studies conducted through Plan-Apps, our proprietary suite of commerce marketing tools that inform every decision Threefold’s retail media experts make, show strong returns on in-store and around-the-store touchpoints for retailers and brands.


We know that the consumer path to purchase is no longer linear. To create a retail media campaign that reaches shoppers across the marketing funnel, from awareness through to conversation and loyalty, brand marketers must consider every part of that path, especially in the store where more than 80% of transactions take place.  


3 things to know

  1. Consumers are looking to spend in moments where they feel that they are getting the most value out of their dollars.

  2. Spending on travel and experiences is expected to continue to rise.

  3. Shoppers have resources and the ability to spend but want discounts, deals and personalized promotions.


What does this mean?

In 2023, the holiday shopping season started earlier and is predicted to end later, giving brands and retailers even more time to reach shoppers. Consumers have also become more savvy with spending, looking for deals throughout the season and hedging bets on when they’re going to checkout with the best price.


As marketers, we must focus on how we plan our holiday promotional calendars, so we can capture shoppers with the right message, using the right channels at the right time.


Consumers continue to prioritize experiences: Post-pandemic global travel continues to soar, up 31% in March 2023 vs the same period in 2019 and up 25% from last year, according to MasterCard data. With that in mind, marketers must utilize upper-funnel tactics along the path to purchase to drive inspiration among shoppers. For example, we may use influencer marketing to provide an authentic product review or Pinterest to demonstrate key features of a product.


To entice shoppers to spend, retail media networks must double down on personalization strategies to drive growth for brands. At Threefold, we use our retailer partners' first-party data to target relevant shoppers based on the CPG’s needs, driving higher conversion rates for brands and strengthening consumer loyalty.


Given the complex and dynamic nature of retail media, it’s more important than ever for brands to stand out and ultimately give consumers personalized and targeted communications that speak directly to them.


As the 2023 holiday shopping season nears its end and we look ahead to the new year, brand marketers and retail media networks must keep a keen eye on what shopper data tells us about how consumers think and feel. The shopper remains at the heart of what we do, so we must constantly work to use data to capture them at the correct moment, using the correct channels through memorable experiences and promotions that resonate.


About Beth Gerrard

Beth Gerrard is an assistant account manager for North America at Threefold and has been with SMG for more than two years. Prior to moving over to the North America team, Beth worked on The Very Group account and led the delivery of Retail Media Summit UK, the first event of its kind in the UK. Are you interested in finding out more about Threefold's retail media services? You can email her at beth.gerrard@threefold.team.


About Threefold

Founded in 2008, Threefold is the world's leading Retail Media Network (RMN) specialist, headquartered in both London and New York. As part of the SMG agency network, which employs over 250 retail media experts, Threefold's primary mission is to unlock incremental CPG budgets, curate media campaigns that supercharge sales and elevate its retail partners into top-tier omnichannel media owners, spanning in-store, offsite and online.


Threefold's services include consultancy, evaluation, and a white-label in-house solution that has seen the agency build, run and operate over 10 Retail Media Networks to date. In the UK, Threefold runs and operates Walgreens' Boots Media Group and Morrisons Media Group, and additional live partners include major retailers like The Co-op, Signet Group and The Very Group.

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