Christmas is months away. My Twitter feed, dominated by digital marketing, communications and technology people has seen plenty of disbelief. Why do shops have Christmas messaging up already? Why?
Despite the apparent outrage, I suspect most of the people pointing at the incipient decorations and sale offers know why retailers are already preparing for Christmas. It matters. Christmas is a hugely important shopping season.
I might be guilty of this myself. I don’t want to see reminders that the end of the year is sneaking up. I don’t. I’m exactly the type to roll my eyes at tinsel decorated posters that make it to the shop front before Halloween.
Like the digital marketing geek I am; I am excited by what Christmas means to the industry. We should see even more people going online for their Christmas shopping. After all, each year produces another credit card wielding generation who are eager and able to buy from the web or ROPO (research online, purchase offline).
I ran a quick, 100 person, limited to the UK, survey to get a baseline of intent. The question I asked was “Which site do you think will be most helpful to you this Christmas?” I didn’t explicitly mention shopping, although that’s what I imagine most of the respondents had in mind as I’m curious about the impact and influence of digital entertainment this Christmas.
I picked two champion retailers; Amazon and eBay and put them up against some social and some search channels. They won. In this initial, very small, study it seems UK shoppers have the plan to target ecommerce sites directly. There’s certainly no indication that many people will be turning to the wisdom of the crowds for shopping ideas of Christmas distractions.
Despite the economic climate it is likely that some forms of electronics will do well this year. Windows 8 may influence laptop sales, smartphones will sell and gadgets like the new Kindle series, Google’s Nexus 7 and the new iPad are likely to be common Christmas presents.
Last year we saw a surge in mobile traffic over Christmas; actually, especially just after Christmas as people got to grips with their new toys – sorry, I mean, practical and necessary work aids.
This year, I think we’ll see another surge.
We won’t just have a fresh influx of tablets and other devices. This Christmas will be the first Christmas were a good chunk of the UK population already have devices that allow internet mobility.
This year, even as the Christmas holidays start, and the kids grab the remote control for the TV there will be parents who turn, in greater numbers, to the tablets and experience the web from their sofas.
During the holidays people will not just be shopping online they will be being entertained online. Tablets will stream movies, eReaders will provide books, smartphones will provide social network distraction while the wrong TV show in on and provide social TV commentary when the right program starts.
This year the UK public are more willing and more able to dip into the internet from more devices than ever before.
This is why I think this may be the first mobility Christmas.
If Apple manage to release their iPad Mini it may even be a white Christmas.
By Andrew Girdwood.