As we mark 18 months since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and enter the second pandemic holiday shopping season, consumers have proven their resilience — though behavior, preferences and brand experiences continue to be transient.
We’re working toward economic recovery. TransUnion’s US Q4 2021 Consumer Pulse Survey* found 63% of consumers said they’re optimistic about their household finances in the next year. Beyond a return to baseline, some had more positive sentiments toward future spending. TransUnion’s annual Consumer Holiday Shopping Report** found 22% of consumers plan to spend more on holiday shopping after two consecutive years of decline.
But even with pockets of hope for economic rebound, a full return to previous confidence levels may come with obstacles. Roughly one-third of US consumers expected to potentially ease spending on discretionary items and large purchases. Through this volatility, marketers best positioned to succeed will be those who can successfully engage the channels where consumers are spending their time and dollars.
Through new pandemic norms, supply chain fears and tightening finances, recent years of consumer spending and consumer-brand engagement represent a departure from previous benchmarks. This deviation makes historical spending data and traditional channels less relevant in predicting future behavior than before. Instead, intelligence from diverse consumer attributes — and the ability to use that insight to reach audiences across streaming and digital media where they’re spending time — will power more effective marketing strategies this holiday season and into 2022.
Capture new customers through a strategic lens
With less ability to tap into historic shopping trends, marketers must employ other insights to understand and target audiences. To efficiently reach the audiences most likely to be their next customers, marketers need to first grow their understanding of target consumers across characteristics, interests and behaviors, as well as online and offline identifiers and devices. Armed with attributes like homeownership, household composition, financial behavior and more, marketers have more intelligence to connect with prospective audiences.
Capitalize on streaming media consumption trends
Reaching the right consumers increasingly means connecting to the right digital channels.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an already rapid consumer shift to streaming as homebound viewers sought new content. By the end of 2021, nearly 50% of all ad-supported television viewing among 18–49-year-olds will be streamed. To reach cord-cutters, cord-nevers and audiences that generally spend more time streaming, marketers need to scale streaming media advertising. With its growth and data-driven targeting capabilities, marketers can embrace television as they have traditionally — as a mass-reach channel for top-of-funnel awareness — as well as activate a hyper-targeted channel capable of powering sales and conversions.
Optimize audience reach for all digital channels
The migration to digital channels has made conversion and shopping behavior more fluid. The majority (83%) of consumers said they plan to do at least half of their holiday shopping online. And as many American consumers plan for COVID-19-related financial adjustments, 34% shared they’ll increase online purchases in the next three months.
As consumers reallocate spend to new channels, marketers can also build net-new relationships. Consumer sentiment this holiday season signals people are willing to reevaluate standing brand relationships: 33% were open to shopping with new retailers, even if they’re not familiar with the brand. Reaching consumers on their preferred channels with relevant messaging is the first step to establishing authentic experiences that drive engagement throughout the consumer journey.
More and more, connected devices are a critical touchpoint in this journey. Correctly associating a fractured view of people and households to these devices is increasingly important. A consistent view of omnichannel identity enables marketers to reach audiences at scale across the devices and platforms where they’re spending time.
How TransUnion helps
As consumers engage with brands and content across touchpoints and demand more relevant experiences, marketers need intelligent, identity-driven audience strategies. TransUnion Marketing Solutions provide the data and connections marketers need to capture new customers amid evolving consumer behaviors and expectations.
Our three-dimensional view of identity — covering people, households and devices — and our ability to connect that identity to thousands of consumer attributes empowers marketers to understand and communicate with actionable, people-based audiences across the channels and platforms they prefer.
*This online survey of 2,899 adults was conducted Oct. 28–Nov. 2, 2021 by TransUnion in partnership with third-party research provider, Qualtrics® Research-Services. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the United States were surveyed using an online research panel method across a combination of desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
**TransUnion conducted an online survey of 2,631 adults in October to record their views regarding the 2021 holiday shopping season.