7 min.
A historic holiday season to be expected in 2021
1L’art de la gestion de projet2Un projet à succès commence par une bonne gouvernance3Cascade, agilité, demandes de changement?

A historic holiday season to be expected in 2021


“This is predicted to be the biggest holiday season in history. »

Google Think Holiday (Webinar)

The holidays are a crucial time for most businesses. In fact, retail businesses make an average of 65% of their turnover between November and December due to the enthusiasm surrounding this period of reunions and festivities. Sailing well through the holiday storm is so important that missing the boat for a single year could prove fatal to a business.

This year it will be a share of wallet war. With more and more people now working from home, for many, living expenses have been greatly reduced and financial health has improved. Many consumers therefore have more money in their pockets and, with a gradual withdrawal of the confinement rules, the desire to celebrate and to offer gifts will certainly be there.

This is a unique business opportunity, quite simply extraordinary (in the truest sense of the word), from which the companies that know how to seize it will greatly benefit, hence the crucial importance of adopting an informed, judicious and thoughtful approach!


Before diving deeper into the recommendations of our experts, let's set the table by drawing up a brief inventory.

Using data collected and analyzed over the past year, Google Think Retail Keynote recently released a few insights that could prove useful to businesses and marketers alike in the run-up to the holiday season of 2021:

  • E-commerce is unlikely to continue to accelerate at the same rate as in 2020;
  • New digital-centric behaviors learned in 2020 carry over into 2021, blurring the boundaries of online and offline retail;
  • With user behavior constantly changing, keep an eye out for the latest trends and insights to inform your holiday strategy;
  • Use automation to stay flexible at all times.

Source: Google Think Retail 2021 Edition

Be sure to keep all of this in mind when designing your strategy and setting realistic targets for your campaign.


1. Sharpen your sense of timing

One of the things you'll need to consider this year is the earlier  timing  of holiday shopping. Last year, we already predicted that holiday shopping would be earlier than usual . This later turned out, and frankly. 

As the following charts demonstrate, in 2020 the intensity of online sales peaked towards the end of November, and the run-up to Cyber ​​Week saw unparalleled growth.

Source: Google Think Retail 2021 Edition

In 2021, this trend looks set to pick up even more as it looks like people will be shopping  even earlier ! In fact, according to  Google Think Retail , 1 in 5 Canadians have already started their holiday shopping. Searches for Christmas pajamas are also already twice as high in 2021 as they were in 2020 at the same time.

Knowing that the "peak" period could arise a few days early this year, adjust your calendar accordingly, because as the expression goes, "timing is everything!" ".

2. Ensure the availability and accessibility of products in stores

Like last year, product availability and accessibility should be your customers' top priority. Most research is done online, but most consumers will buy in-store.

Yes, alas, if you thought of reproducing the level of digital performance reached last year, you are putting your finger in the eye. Sales that are not made online will be made in stores.

According to the 2021 edition of Google Think Retail, 58% of consumers indicate that they are finalizing their journey and making their holiday purchases in stores. Additionally, searches related to curbside pickup are up 5,000  % (no less!) over last year. In terms of revealing information, you can hardly do better.

Source: Google Think Retail 2021 Edition

3. Maximize the omnichannel experience

Omnichannel experience and measurement will be even more important in 2021 than in 2020. The competition for consumer attention will be at its height this year. You will therefore have to adapt to your target audience and adjust your messages according to their interests and their user journey.

 According to Google Think Retail, the level of rivalry between businesses wanting to acquire new customers will reach new heights in 2021: 

“  Competition for user attention will be at peak this year. Indeed last year 24% of shoppers stated that they shopped for a new brand. This year, this ratio is estimated at 36%! »

Some tips to maximize the multichannel experience  :

  • Promote your discounts in real time;
  • Post eye-catching messages by promoting your inventory (ideally by branch) and the possibility of obtaining the product immediately;
  • Highlight your distribution (shipping) options and average receipt time;
  • Capitalize on user experience and ease of purchase (both online and offline);
  • Let users try and discover your products by providing them with demonstrators in stores or explanatory videos online;
  • Promote your local addresses in your digital efforts.

4. Focus on quality rather than low price!

Our final expert tip concerns  the quality of coveted products.

Over the past 15 years, we have seen a steady increase in searches related to the word “best”, while those related to the word “cheap” are decreasing. However, this trend has been accentuated lately, because since consumers have more money in their pockets, they seem to want to take advantage of it to equip themselves with the best products available on the market.

Source: Google Think Retail 2021 Edition

Who are your best sellers? Put them forward! Identify the differentiating elements of your products in order to capitalize on them and maximize their presence in your marketing initiatives.

This could give you a strong long-term competitive advantage.

5. Be flexible

We cannot predict what our reality will look like in a month or two.

So plan your marketing initiatives early, but also leave room for the unexpected. If the rules surrounding the health crisis become more flexible, we will necessarily see an increase in store presence. On the contrary, if the distancing rules are tightened, online sales will experience a further increase.

Your marketing strategy must therefore be flexible and agile, adapted according to the evolution of the situation. It will undoubtedly be the companies that show themselves to be the most flexible that will triumph over the holiday season.

6. A list so you don't forget anything

Every campaign prep has a  checklist , and the holiday season is no exception.

To make sure you cover all the bases adequately, here are some to-do lists that could be very useful for you to brave the storm of the coming months:

–    Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday & Boxing Day: are you ready for the holidays?

–    Google Think Holidays 2021 Key Takeaways

–    Google Ads Growth Formula – 2021 Holiday Planner

–    How retailers can stand out this holiday season

We hope that our advice will help you reach your targets and make the most of the opportunities offered by the approaching holiday season. To put the odds on your side, be ready even earlier, bank on the quality and availability of products, be flexible and maximize the multichannel experience of your consumers.

Some of your questions remained unanswered? Do you need targeted advice, specific to your industry? Do not hesitate to contact our experts , who will be happy to help you.