Holiday shopping seems to start earlier every year. To get you in the spirit of holiday marketing, Google recently shared some of their Google data and research from the 2014 holiday season. Here are the trends to watch for and how to best prepare for the upcoming holiday season:

2014 was the most connected holiday shopping season

Shoppers reported spending more time researching and purchasing online than they did in the past.

78% used Internet for holiday search last year*

40% of holiday shopping occurred online*


Lots of money was spent though small screens

Not only did shoppers spend more time researching and purchasing online, they did so on their smartphone during many times throughout the day and night.

1 trillion (28%) of all retail sales were influenced by shopping related mobile searches*

53% o those who shopped online did so through a smartphone or tablet, much more than the previous year (41%)*


Holiday shopping began way before Black Friday

Rather than wait for a single day, shoppers in 2014 started before Halloween; nearly half did most of their shopping on or prior to Cyber Monday.

48% of holiday shoppers reported that they did a majority of their shopping on or before Cyber Monday, up from 40% in 2013.*

25% of shoppers said they had done some holiday shopping before Halloween.*


Zero brand loyalty during the holidays

Consumers were more open to approaching new stores and brands that had the best deals for holiday purchases.

Over 50% of respondents were open to buying form a new retailer.*

41% actually purchase from a new retailer, up significantly from 2013.*


Holiday shoppers turned to Youtube

Peers were the biggest influencers in video; peer videos held more sway than those from experts.

Of all of those who watched online video to help with holiday shopping:

80% watched product reviews and ratings*

68% preferred product videos from “people like me”*

45% preferred videos from experts*


The Takeaway

What can marketers anticipate for the 2015 holiday season?

Establish Your Mobile Friendly Presence

Expect for customers to visit your website to make purchases through mobile and tablet devices. Websites should be web responsive to automatically adjust to the size of the screen the user is on. As we learned from Google earlier this year, a web responsive site helps improve rankings in search results.

Plan Early

Plan out your holiday promotions well in advance. Right now is a great time to establish marketing goals and gather tools for collecting customer information and measuring marketing data. What channels would be most effective in reaching your target audience – email marketing, Facebook, or Google Ads? If you plan on doing paid ads through Google or Facebook, make sure to establish a specific target audience and a budget you would like to allocate to those channels.

Competitive Research

During the planning phases, do some research to see what your competitors might be promoting during the holiday season; this might give you a “leg up” come holiday time. Since shoppers are likely to throw out brand loyalty and seek the best deal instead, put forth your best offer to win more shoppers.

Invest in Video

Video, especially native video, is receiving well on channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Once way to capture shoppers’ attention through social channels is with a video promoting your special offer. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action or link to your website so they can click to learn more and make purchases.