The Number One Driver of Holiday Spend

November 1, 2019 Posted by - Senior Vice President, National Advertising Partnerships

Good timing for marketers: Cardlytics’ data reveals last year’s holiday sales were up 2% year-over-year. Even more great news, the forecast is showing continued growth for 2019.

So how can retailers make sure they’re maximizing their sales potential? To help answer this question, we analyzed over $2.8T in purchase data across our banking partners and identified the biggest holiday spend trends.

Here’s a deeper dive into the second trend marketers need to know now that the busiest retail season is officially upon us:  

Holiday shoppers are making more frequent but smaller purchases

The biggest driver of holiday sales growth last year was an increase in the number of purchases customers are making.

Last holiday season, customers made 2.7% more purchases vs. the year prior—although this was slightly offset by a 0.7% decrease in basket size. This means customers are spending more frequently than last year, but spending a bit less on each purchase.

CDLX Holiday 2019 Spend Trend: the more purchases the merrier

Frequent small purchases were particularly important for online channels. Purchases increased 16.6% year-over-year for online-only retailers and 6.8% for traditional retailers’ online stores—what we call Brick&Mortar.coms—while basket size decreased by 2.6% and 1.7% for each channel, respectively.  As we have all personally experienced, with shipping becoming faster and cheaper, there’s less incentive to buy everything at once in order to save on shipping costs. ​

Actionable tips:

Retailers should continue to explore—and quickly execute—ways to make it easy for customers to continuously chip away at their holiday shopping lists. Promoting gift guides and convenience benefits, such as free shipping and ship-to-store options, will go a long way to drive customers to make that one more purchase with them. When customers know they can head to the store to pick up their online order, they will hopefully feel inspired to do some additional shopping!

Want more Holiday insights?

Check out more key spend trends here and stay tuned for our next blog post next week, when we’ll dig deeper into spend trend #3: Brick & Mortars dominate holiday spend, but online channels continue to steal share.