Google: How consumers will shop and buy this holiday season

Google has shared insight on holiday shopping trends for 2016.

Ah, Black Friday. The magical day the citizens of the country that elected Donald Trump rise before dawn to trample each other to death in the name of a good deal.

Not surprisingly, Google said it sees “supershoppers” once again returning to their mobile devices for research and purchases on Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2016. That was according to a new Think With Google post on shopping trends and products this holiday season.

In fact, smartphones have become what Google called a “door-to-the-store” for many consumers, which the search engine added is particularly true during the holiday season. Per Google data, 76% of consumers who search for something nearby on their smartphones visit a related business within a day. And – psst – therein lies an opportunity for local search.

Further, Google said its data also reveals how consumers will shop and what they'll buy on one of the busiest shopping weeks of the year.

1. Women are from Mars

To start, according to Google, women search for and buy products on mobile at twice the rate of men throughout the holiday season. That’s with the single exception of the week of Christmas, which is when men are more likely to complete their mobile purchases.

2. Hatchimals and Nintendo are the Tickle Me Elmos of 2016

According to Google search data, the top trending product searches for the first two weeks of November include the Nintendo Entertainment System and Hatchimals, which it said are stuffed animals that hatch.

Other hot gifts for 2016 based on search data include:

  • Baby Alive
  • Trolls
  • DJI phantom 3 + 4
  • Sony PS4 Pro
  • Cozmo
  • Pokemon
  • Num Noms
  • RC Cars

In addition, Google said searches for gift inspiration are also on the rise. In fact, last year, mobile searches related to "unique gifts" grew more than 65% versus the same period in 2014 and mobile searches related to "cool gifts" grew more than 80%.

3. Blame the tryptophan?

Even though Black Friday is associated with pre-dawn shopping, store foot traffic typically peaks in the afternoon between noon and 4:00pm, Google said. But consumers are also shopping all day – shopping searches on mobile remain steady throughout the day as shoppers look for deals and plan trips to the store – and this activity peaks in the evening.

4. New Englanders love the Red Sox, the Patriots…and a good deal

What’s more, Google said by 10:00am on Black Friday, more than one-quarter of New England consumers are already shopping. The rest of the country lags behind a full hour. This also holds true on mobile: People living in New Hampshire search for more product-related deals than people in other states, Google said.

But even before stores open — and long after they close — consumers continue to shop. Last Thanksgiving, 59% of shopping searches on mobile took place before stores opened and shopping continued well into the evening, with mobile shopping searches peaking at 8:00pm, Google added.

And, conveniently, Google has two new measurement tools to help retail marketers as we head into the 2016 holiday season.

Remember the 76% of people who search for something nearby on their smartphones and visit a related business within a day? 28% of those searches result in a purchase, Google said. What’s more, new distance and location reports will help marketers understand exactly where their store visits are coming from.

These new distance reports show store visits based on how far away consumers are from a store when they search. As a result, if a store visit rate is highest within 1 mile of a store, the retailer could apply targeting around that specific radius, Google said.

“You could then set higher bids for nearby consumers and show them specialized ads like ‘Get up to 50% off in-store with holiday doorbuster deals until noon!,’” a Google+ post said.

Store visits distance reporting is now available for Search campaigns and will be rolling out to Shopping campaigns soon, Google added.

In addition, store visits performance is also coming soon to geographic and user locations reports, Google said.

“This will allow you to see which geographic areas are driving the most ad clicks that result in a store visit,” the platform added. “For example, are ads in Los Angeles and London contributing the most store visits? Use this insight to decide whether to increase your budget and bidding investment in those areas.”

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