Google Trends and Christmas. What Do Customers in the USA Buy During the Festive Season?

Google Trends and Christmas. What Do Customers in the USA Buy During the Festive Season?

The holiday season is upon us… And what does this mean for online stores? It’s high time to prepare your offer in advance to effectively boost sales in the next 2 months. Would you like to find out what are the shopping trends among customers in the USA? When do they start looking for Christmas gifts and what do they usually buy for their loved ones and friends? I’ve got you covered! In this article, I present all key trends (as well as some statistics), mostly based on the reliable Google Trends tool.

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How Much Money Do Americans Spend On Christmas Gifts?

Americans just love buying Christmas gifts! And they are willing to spend quite a lot of money on them. But how much exactly? Statista asked customers in the United States the following question: “Roughly how much money do you think you personally will spend on Christmas gifts this year?” and here are the results from 1999 to 2019:

As you can see, the average American in recent years has estimated that he or she will spend about $800-850 on Christmas presents (2016 – $752, 2017 – $862, 2018 – $794, 2019 – $846).

These are, of course, only the projected budgets that Americans plan to spend on Christmas gifts. But the truth is that quite often we spend more than we plan, right? When it comes to Christmas shopping, this happens as well. Take a look at the chart below, it presents for which things usually the planned budget is exceeded:

christmas trends e-commerce
Source: fool.com

As statistics show, in 2019, 90.5% of people spent more than they expected on Christmas gifts. Besides, budgets are also often increased for food (32.8%) and decorations (13.7%).

When Do People Start Looking for Christmas Gifts?

If you think that people start looking for Christmas presents in December, then you couldn’t be more wrong. They search for presents for their loved ones much earlier! How do we know that? Here, Google Trends, which for years has been gathering data on what is searched for by users around the world, proves to be extremely helpful.

So when exactly do users start thinking about Christmas gifts? Only when they come back from holiday and buy all the necessary stuff for school or college, i. e. in mid-October and at the end of that month. Let’s compare the Google search trend of the phrase “Christmas gift” over the last few years.

"christmas gift" phrase trend in USA
The trend of the phrase “Christmas gift” over the last 5 years in the United States

 

In 2017, an increase of popularity of this phrase (a value higher than 10) was noticeable in the week 29 October-4 November, in 2018, it was even earlier – 21-27 October, in 2019 – 27 October-2 November. As you can see, while some people look for spooky Halloween costumes, others already search for Christmas gifts.

What’s interesting, this year the trend of looking for Christmas gifts has already begun (during the week: 18-24 October)! So if you want to increase sales before Christmas, you have no time to lose!

Be aware that before Christmas there are 2 important occasions when people may be more willing to look for gifts, these are Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

"black friday" keyword trend over time in the US
The trend of the phrase “Black Friday” over the last 5 years in the United States
"Cyber Monday" phrase trend over time - graph
The trend of the phrase “Cyber Monday” over the last 5 years in the United States

Both phrases, “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” show a very short, but really powerful, trend which clearly indicates that in this period (mostly at the end of November) you may expect increased pre-Christmas sales so be well-prepared for Black Friday and Cyber Monday – offer customers some discounts or free shipping.

In December, customers also buy some gifts at Christmas sales – you should keep in mind that the trend of searching for Christmas gifts ends no sooner than on the 25th of December. After all, some people buy last-minute gifts!

What Are the Main Challenges for Online Store Owners?

If you run your own online store, you must be properly prepared for the pre-Christmas web traffic already in October. At peak moments, you should ensure that everything in your store runs smoothly – below, I will discuss it in more detail. For the Christmas season, it is worth launching the “send as a gift” option (for example, at Amazon, this box is called “This is a gift”). This way, customers will be able to order a particular gift directly to the recipient with no invoices or bills inside the parcel. Another great option valued by users is the possibility to pack orders in gift boxes.

You also should take good care of last-minute customers, so it would be best to provide them with an express shipping option – remember that here not the website is responsible for the success, but the entire logistics of your online store, i.e. the number of staff who are responsible for the timely shipment of their orders.

Who Do Americans Buy Gifts For?

You already know how much Americans spend on Christmas and when they look for gifts. Now it is time to consider: who do they buy gifts for? The actual trends in this area reflect keywords with the highest search volume in SEMrush.

KeywordSearch Volume
Christmas gifts90 500
Christmas gifts for mom49 500
Christmas gifts for boyfriend33 100
Christmas gifts for dad33 100
Christmas gifts for girlfriend18 100
Christmas gifts for girls18 100
Christmas gifts for wife18 100
teacher Christmas gifts14 800
Christmas gifts for husband12 100
Christmas gifts for boys9 900
Christmas gifts for coworkers9 900
Christmas gifts for couples8 100
Christmas gifts for grandma8 100
Christmas gifts for parents8 100
Christmas gifts for sister8 100
Christmas gifts for friends6 600

source: semrush.com
As you can see, users most often search for gifts for their loved ones: mom, dad, boyfriend, girlfriend, or wife. Note that it is slightly less popular to search for gifts for teachers, coworkers, or friends. Of course, that depends on the state, for example, most people want to buy gifts for their moms in Delaware, Rhode Island, Montana, New Hampshire, or Kansas, and much less in California, New Mexico, or Mississippi.

Does it really matter? Well, partially it does – if you run a local business in one state, then you should adjust your marketing campaigns and product range to the needs and demands of local customers.

Have you ever heard of the concept called “wegifting”? It involves giving other people gifts that we can use as well. What’s interesting, this trend is popular mainly in the USA where 74% of people choose these gifts for others, which they can use too. Consider which products in your offer may be perfect as “wegifts”.

What Types of Gifts Do Americans Choose?

You already know how much Americans are willing to spend on gifts for their loved ones and friends and when they start looking for them, but the key question is: what types of gifts do Americans love most? Do they choose books, perfumes? Or maybe vouchers?

Statista analyzed holiday gifts that the American customers plan to buy (the survey has been conducted each year since 2012) and here are the results:

Types of Gifts that customers choose - statistics
Source: statista.com

Americans love buying mainly gift cards and clothes – this trend has been continuing for many years. Also in 2020, these 2 types of gifts are the most frequently chosen by American customers (gift cards – 48%, clothing – 43%). And what else do customers in this country choose as the perfect gift? These are, above all, games, toys and dolls (40%), books (36%), cosmetics, fragrances, beauty products (29%), or jewelry (24%).

I would like to pay your attention to one fact – more and more Americans want to give handmade gifts (according to SEMrush, the phrase “DIY Christmas gifts” has a very large search volume: 27,100). So maybe it would be good to consider introducing some handmade products to your range or at least create a nice piece of blog content presenting the best ideas for DIY gifts.

What Does All This Mean For E-Commerce?

For online stores, this means that you have to be prepared in advance for Christmas sales. What do you have to keep in mind when preparing for Christmas in e-commerce?

  1. Website optimization, which consists of elements such as:
  • posting Christmas-related content, e.g.: guides on how to choose a perfect gift for your mom or friend, where do Christmas traditions come from, ideas for DIY gifts, ways to save money during Christmas shopping, etc.
  • checking if the page loading speed is fast enough;
  • optimizing for mobile devices – if you would like to find out what needs to be done here, I’ve prepared a mobile SEO guide, you will find there all the necessary information;
  • reducing 404 errors for products that have been removed from your offer and creating redirects to similar products that may attract users’ attention.
  1. Christmas discounts. This is the best way to attract potential customers and increase web traffic; it can be free shipping, delivering an order as a gift, etc. We can also prepare Christmas gift cards for those who can’t decide on anything particular.
  2. A separate Christmas page. Since users are looking for Christmas ideas, it would be good to prepare a separate section for them on your website. This will make it easier for them to find what they need. Besides suggesting products perfect for gifts, you can also present sets of products suitable for specific target groups: people of particular character, interests, or age. You should give the option to sort products by price, e.g. from the lowest to the highest.
  3. Google Ads campaign. Before Christmas, it is worth planning a targeted campaign on Google. Paid ads are also a great idea to increase traffic, especially if your online store is displayed in the search results on keywords with the greatest potential.
  4. Fast customer service. You already know that there are plenty of last-minute customers during the pre-Christmas season. That’s why your staff responsible for direct customer service should operate flawlessly, even better than during the rest of the year.
  5. Don’t offer more than you can handle. There is no point in taking thousands of orders a day if you are not able to handle them. As simple as that! If you don’t have enough employees in your warehouse, in your customer service team, or people responsible for packing and shipping parcels, then orders will not be completed. That’s why each of the solutions introduced to your online store for the Christmas season should be well planned and adjusted to your capabilities. During this period, especially in the case of last-minute customers, even the smallest mistake and failure to deliver orders may result in many negative comments on social media or on forums. And that’s not what you want, right?

You have probably wondered more than once what kind of gifts to choose to make your loved ones completely satisfied with it. Believe me, many people don’t like the gifts they received, so they look for ways to express them. Offer in your online store an extended return time – this way, more customers will choose your store! Take a look at the trends of the phrase “Christmas gift swap” – people look for the best ways to swap their gifts right after Christmas:

"christmas gift swap" phrase popularity over the last year in US - graph
The trend of the phrase “Christmas gift swap” over the last year in the United States.

Be Prepared for the Holiday Season!

American customers start looking for the best Christmas gifts already in October. What does this mean for your online store? You need to introduce Christmas-targeted marketing strategies and products as soon as possible. You have no time to lose! Although some Americans look for last-minute gifts right before Christmas, the greatest potential for increased sales is in November.

Would you like to discover how to prepare your online store for the Christmas season, take a look at our guide or contact us – our SEO experts will optimize your e-commerce store and boost web traffic.

FAQ

SEO process should be looked at with, at least a one-year perspective. The first three or four months of constant SEO work brings a visible increase in your store’s online visibility in the Google search results. Another 2-3 months is devoted to building proper customer trust among Google users and increasing website traffic – just imagine: “oh, I saw this store somewhere, let’s enter that website and see what they have for me”. Only after about a half year of SEO activities you will notice its impact on your conversion number and bigger sales – “I see this store, I trust it, so I buy from them”.

It never ends! 😉 Website optimization is a constant process that lasts as long as the website! There’s simply no perfect online store that could be brought up to life and has nothing to optimize and improve. Allegro, eBay, Amazon, and other market giants, despite huge incomes, strong online, and offline positions still constantly work on their SEO and take care of optimizations/

The quicker the better – there’s nothing to wait for! Your competitors are already there working on their SEO strategies or will invest in it soon. Both big and small online stores fight for the highest position in Google SERPs. When you miss the chance, you’ll probably be left behind with small sales and little organic traffic.

Now the best part – constant, regular, and professional SEO activities work for your incomes all the time – if you will go for ” I want to do SEO to increase Christmas Sales idea, you’ll see the impact of during the whole year!

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Author
Head of SEO & SEM - Matt Calik

Head of SEO & SEM

Technical SEO specialist experienced in creating scalable processes based on agile methodologies. Responsible for international SEO strategies. He has strongly analytical approach to online marketing supported by over 12 years of experience. Previously associated with IT, motorsport, tobacco and financial markets. He has been building Delante for 5 years where he is Head of SEO and SEM department.
Comments (2)
  1. Interesting take. I’m wondering isn’t it too late now if I’d like to start the SEO process thinking about Christmas sales. Each year I have a feeling that I’m not using the full potential.

    1. Joe, the truth is the sooner you’ll start working on your SEO, the better 🙂 It takes time for the process to start bringing solid and constant results, however, it’s usually the first month when you start to see an increase in organic traffic and visibility in search results. If you start the process now, there’s a high chance that through better visibility and traffic you’ll generate more sales during the Christmas season.

      Regardless, SEO process effects will also be noticeable long after the festive season! So, the investment you’d do now, will not only have a chance to help with the Christmas sales but also influence further increase in conversion of your store. A win-win scenario, right?

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