‘Tis the season to be jolly smart (and fast!) to capitalise on trends influencing when and how people shop and to bump up sales during the festive period.
Here, influencer marketing group, Nfinity Influencer, looks at key trends defining ecommerce, why influencer marketing is the sharpest tool you can use, and how to engage with social media influencers in ways that will not only get ‘buy’ buttons clicking but also all your brand bells ringing.
Early-bird and online
The days of rushing around a shopping mall two days before Christmas are numbered; 58% of consumers are starting their holiday shopping as early as October. They’re doing this to spread costs, get what they need in time, benefit from promotions and discounts, and are increasingly ‘clicking to cart’ and doing their holiday shopping where it’s easiest: online.
According to Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey 2022, during last year’s holiday season, consumers spent a total of $1.14 trillion online globally and $270 billion in the US alone.
While we don’t have access to all local e-commerce numbers, judging by the growth in influencer marketing campaigns being executed, we can only assume that South African businesses are experiencing similar growth.
The potent scroll
In line with the overarching influence of social media on buying behaviour (data from Deloitte shows that 64% of digital buyers discover brands and products via social media), holiday shopping is also getting more and more ‘social’.
According to research by Salesforce between March and May 2023, more than half of consumers said they bought an item in-store that they discovered via their social media feeds.
This is bolstered by the pervasive power of influencer marketing, and how, globally, 67% of social media users would consider a brand/product if promoted by their favourite influencer. The same rules apply to South Africa.
All eyes on Gen Z
With Millennials and Gen Z starting to dictate shopping trends through their behaviours (such as the platforms they use and preferences for authentic product reviews versus brand advertisements), social media has become an instrumental channel to influence buying decisions.
Consequently, a robust strategy is a must-have for all business and brands this holiday season.
#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: why influencers are holiday marketing heroes
In increasingly creator-led commerce, we’re more likely to buy directly from Kylie than from Amazon. It’s all about the personal and the endorsed from people — whether mega-celebs or nano-influencers — that you follow, admire and trust.
Like a best friend recommending the perfect gift or the ultimate holiday must-have, influencers inspire more than 80% of younger consumers’ holiday-buying decisions, according to McKinsey.
That means that, in addition to the usual advantages such as amplified reach and authentic, engaging content, the trust and credibility influencers provide results in them have the power to influence and increase a large part of your holiday sales.
As a result, and with the second-highest ROI after short-form video content, influencer marketing spend on Instagram will top over $2.75 billion this year, followed by YouTube ($1.09 billion), TikTok ($1.05 billion), and Facebook ($839.9 million).
The way they’re influencing purchases is also changing.
In line with Gen Z becoming increasingly ad-adverse, we’re seeing the boom of the livestream. Even more popular than short-form video, consumers spend three times longer watching live videos than pre-recorded visual content.
Apart from direct exposure to a product from friends or family, Gen Z consumers name TikTok videos as the biggest influencer in their decision to make a purchase.
As a result, livestream commerce is already a $35 billion industry and growing at a rapid 60% per year. It’s for these reasons that Nfinity has also started playing in this field of live shopping.
Read more: Live, Now – The real time marketing gamechanger
With two billion users, and business accounts that can share messages directly with customers, WhatsApp is making sales conversations through group chats easier and more powerful than ever.
According to Kantar, 66% of respondents say they’re more likely to buy from a brand they can connect with over text.
Pull something creative out of the stocking this season
The holiday season is an awesome opportunity to add spice to your marketing campaigns and, in line with holiday shopping trends, to reconsider how you work with social media influencers.
Whether through collaborative gift guides, holiday discount codes, virtual demos, exclusive unboxings, holiday challenges, or festive storytelling and behind-the-scenes, there are a multitude of ways to work with social media influencers that ‘TikTok’ all the holiday boxes.
Albert Makoeng is sales director at Nfinity Influencer.