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Mobile Marketers Sending Holiday Promos Sooner

Do ads in October—and earlier—entice or irritate digital buyers?

Mounting evidence shows that the holiday shopping season is starting sooner. But is this Christmas creep consumer-driven or the result of retailers planting seeds in the public's mind earlier in the year?

According to a July 2018 survey of US consumers and mobile marketers worldwide by YouAppi, retailers might be a little premature with holiday promotions. 

The largest number of marketers (30%) plan to start pushing holiday products via mobile apps in November, the same as in 2017. But more said they were going to start before October: 23% in 2018, compared with 16% last year. And fewer are waiting until December (11% vs. 17%).

However, only 11% of consumers want to see holidays mentioned in mobile apps in October. Most are not ready for holiday ads until after Thanksgiving (38%), though that's down from 46% in 2017.

Mobile marketers also have slightly different takes on the mobile opportunity for this year's holiday season compared with 2017. Fully 60% think it's a great time of year to engage customers, up from 54% who thought so a year earlier. And 28% said it was an opportunity to collect data to use in future campaigns, up from 25% who said the same in 2017.

Fewer saw mobile campaigns as an opportunity to have fun and be creative this year (38% vs. 43%). Though counterintuitively, when asked if they were doing something new this year, 62% said they will try different creative ideas, up from 42% in 2017. 

Mobile users aren't just passively absorbing these holiday marketing messages—creative or not. During the 2017 holiday shopping season, sales coming from smartphone purchases set records. And a Facebook IQ analysis of conversions categorized as purchases from holiday ads demonstrated the shift from desktop to mobile. Fifty-three percent of conversions on Black Friday 2016 occurred on a mobile device, but that figure jumped to 74% for the same day last year. 

eMarketer estimates US retail mcommerce holiday season sales hit $40.87 billion in 2017, a 36.3% increase year over year. We forecast that total will reach $54.17 billion this year, which will represent 43.9% of total holiday retail ecommerce sales.