41% of Brand Marketers Say Holiday 2021 Will Make or Break their Business

Sitecore survey of consumers and marketers predicts earlier holiday shopping season and a “reset” of Black Friday offerings

Sitecore®, the global leader in digital experience management software, today released exclusive research showing that 41% of marketers strongly agree that this holiday season is a make-or-break opportunity for their business, but only 21% feel completely prepared for it. With the 2020 holiday season marred by austerity, health concerns, and shipping delays, Sitecore intends its marketer survey to serve as a wake-up call for brands that are not yet thinking about the holidays – and are running out of time.

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  • Make-or-break holiday season:
    • Of marketers with a brick-and-mortar presence, 60% are making it an experiential destination this year, while 49% feel the 2021 holiday season is the last chance to prove the value of their store.
    • 65% of marketers think that digitally native e-commerce brands will win the holiday season.
  • Marketers will embrace new ways to boost customer engagement: 
    • 91% of marketers are likely to enhance VR/AI offerings by year’s end.
    • With third-party cookies phasing out, 51% of marketers are increasing the value of discounts and other services offered to consumers in exchange for their data.
    • 74% of marketers plan to introduce a subscription content program to boost customer engagement this holiday season.
  • Dark days for Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions:
    • Only 60% of brands plan a Black Friday promotion, down 17% from last year.
    • 85% of marketers are using the pandemic to “reset” Black Friday sales practices. 80% feel that Black Friday has become outdated and associated negatively with consumer culture.
    • 76% will limit Black Friday promotions to the lone weekend on the calendar, out of fear of devaluing their brand and reducing consumer spend all year long.
    • 78% of marketers say Cyber Monday is no longer “a thing” for their business.
  • Earlier, longer shopping season:
    • 34% of consumers intend to start holiday shopping by Labor Day.
    • 53% of marketers planned campaigns to start earlier this year than last, and 53% added more domestic or local suppliers, to mitigate supply chain challenges.
    • Nearly all marketers (91%) are optimistic of a revenue boost this holiday season.
  • Changing health conditions/regulations – and inflation – are top concerns:
    • Nearly all marketers (95%) are concerned with changing health conditions/regulations impacting holiday performance.
    • 93% of marketers are concerned about inflation having an impact.

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Sitecore research: 41% of marketers agree this holiday season will make or break their business, but 21% feel prepared.

Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill said, “Retail sales were challenging all last year, especially during the critical holiday season. With attitudes around big events like Black Friday changing, the industry now needs to move quickly to connect with their most loyal customers as they plan to begin holiday shopping much earlier this year. The right technology should showcase those promotions that will incentivize early holiday spending and get customers excited to engage with the brand and their products. The pull through to the in-store experience will be equally critical so consumers feel connected to the brand no matter where they choose to shop.”

As marketers prepare for this unprecedented holiday season, they need to understand where their customers’ minds are and what their shopping plans will be. This holiday season will be a make-or-break moment for many – so planning for it well ahead of time is critical. Sitecore enables marketers to truly understand their customers, building strong relationships through personalized digital experiences – which are more critical than ever for businesses looking to survive and thrive.

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