Overview of Holiday Retail
The art of gift-buying is difficult to master - but most people browse for gifts online and it is for good reason, especially if you don’t have something in mind. This leads to loads of googling for lists such as “christmas gift ideas 2018”, which saw a 1600% increase in search popularity, and “gift ideas for 9 yr old girl” (weirdly specific, I know), according to Google Trends data.
Deloitte forecasts that total retail sales will increase by about 5%, while online sales will increase a whole lot more, between 17–22%, for the festive season this year. The Deloitte 2018 Holiday Survey also shows that 78% of consumers plan to spend the same or more for the holiday season than they did last year. The type of gift? As you would expect: gift cards, apparel and toys top the list.
Fig 1: Interest over a year for “gift ideas”.
What Are People Searching For?
Gift ideas for the game of white elephant (the most searched topic) has been trending for the past 7 days, which is incredibly relevant to us at StyleSage because we are definitely partaking in it for our office celebrations.
Under the category of shopping, a quick search on the past 30 days brings up: christmas jumper, Bath and Body works, Ugg, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Victoria Secret, Kohls and Macys to name a few. There were also loads of searches about Nintendo Switch, and the PS4 gaming console, which leads us to wonder if these are meant to be gifts or to treat oneself.
Being data nerds, we at StyleSage had to find out why people were searching for certain retail brands over others. A check on post-Cyber Week promotional activity on our platform reveals Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kohl’s to be the top 3 promoters, which corroborates perfectly what Google Trends is showing us.
Just for reference, Target is offering an average discount of 25% across 99 currently active promotions on their e-commerce site, while Dick’s Sporting Goods features 88 promotions with an average discount of 41%. Kohl’s comes in slightly behind both retailers at 86 promotions and an average discount of 38%. Their promotions are also timed perfectly with the gifting season, with discounted toys and sweaters for the cold weather taking center stage.
Fig 2, 3 & 4: Promotions from Target, Kohl’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
JCPenney is also one of the featured retailers in top search for the past 30 days, and a quick search on our platform shows unsurprisingly, that JCPenney is taking the lead for the highest average discount at 70% off, a whopping 28 percentage point increase from the previous week.
What Are People Buying?
Now that we know which brands people are shopping for gifts, we are curious what they are purchasing from these sites.
Amongst the above-mentioned retailers: Kohl’s, Target, JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret and Dick’s Sporting Goods, clothing, shoes and bags are the most commonly sold out in the past 7 days. 20% of all apparel in Target were sold out; which include more festive pieces like fuzzy christmas socks, onesies and costumes for the kids.
Another interesting data point that we’ve noticed is men’s accessories in Target are selling really well; that includes gloves, beanies, ties and belts. The number of male accessories sold is actually twice the number sold for women! Regardless of whether these Target shoppers are buying these accessories for themselves or as gifts, we now know that men’s accessories are a good gift idea - proven by data.
If you are planning to attend ugly christmas sweater parties, do go prepared in a horrendous festive jumper which you can purchase from https://www.uglychristmassweater.com/. However, there might be a danger of you running into someone wearing the same exact ugly sweater because this niche online site is currently trending on Google search. Top searches under the topic of christmas sweaters include “reindeer boob christmas sweaters”, “taco bell christmas sweaters” and “whoopi christmas sweaters”. Reindeer boob sweaters were trending last year, but apparently they’re back this year again if the Google data is anything to go by. Taco Bell’s ugly christmas sweater collaboration with Tipsy Elves sold out almost instantly after its release. And "whoopi christmas sweaters" refer to a collection of quirky warm knits from actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg released on Zappos.
Fig 5, 6 & 7: Christmas sweaters from Taco Bell and Whoopi Goldberg.
Tis’ The Season To Be Jolly
We hope we’ve helped you narrow down some retailers you can turn to for the gifting season, and some popular gift ideas, too. If you managed to get your hands on a Taco Bell christmas sweater, we suspect it’ll make a really good present at the office white elephant party. Otherwise, sticking to classic moisturizer sets or gift cards is probably your best bet.