July 10, 2020

Supporting Holiday Ad Campaigns Amidst Uncertainty

If we can definitively say anything about 2020 so far, it is that our usual rhythms have been thrown off. Since our daily lives were first upended earlier this year, we have not been able to count on previous patterns and trends. This presents a huge challenge to those of us in advertising, who often rely on historic trends in order to predict year-over-year changes.

(source: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/how-u-s-consumers-are-spending-differently-during-covid-19/)

So what can we predict in 2020?

In many industries as well as retail and grocery, the trends which were true last year can’t be counted on to be true this year, and the trends which are true in July will continue to shift as lockdowns ease (and possibly return). As states continue to reopen, what will we see in coronavirus cases? Already Florida and Texas have seen their daily new cases surge, prompting questions of future reopenings. If there is a new spike, will states return to stay-at-home orders in September? And what then happens to Thanksgiving? Christmas? These holidays will likely look different than they have in the past; our holidays thus far have already shown that.

The national beer industry has seen a drastic increase since the beginning of stay-at-home orders in March, which has had ripple effects into the present. The dip around Father’s Day seen in 2019 for beer transactions virtually disappeared in 2020, and though beer transactions still increased over Memorial Day, the increase was actually less relative to the yearly average than in 2019. But this is just one example of what is to come.


Let’s Talk Turkey

Where Thanksgiving is normally celebrated with one household playing host to many guests, this year we can expect some changes to that model. Whether states go back on lockdown or not, many people will likely spend Thanksgiving within their immediate household or only among those within their closest circle whom they’ve already been in contact with.

In other words, instead of the usual host cooking for everyone or holding potluck-style dinners, more individual households will be purchasing full Thanksgiving meals for the first time. These head of household shoppers are going to be making Thanksgiving dinner for fewer amounts of people, in some cases for the first time ever; how will their expectations change in-store to meet the needs of these smaller-portioned meals? How will turkey, for example, be sold in order to meet this change in demand?

But this shift isn’t limited to the crown jewel of the Thanksgiving feast; it spreads across each component. In previous years, pie crust transactions soared by 300% just ahead of Thanksgiving. If more households celebrate Thanksgiving individually – and thus we have more aspiring pie-makers – we may see an even larger jump in 2020 (along with related ingredients).


How brands can follow the new trends – hot diggity dog!

We don’t know what’s going to happen next. But we can prepare to be flexible so that whatever happens, your next moves are calibrated to position your brands to be the top performers in their categories when new trends shift the industry.

We can’t count on previous trends to accurately predict these changes in 2020, but we can track the new trends in real-time. Luckily, AdAdapted has the tools to do so.

As we followed holiday trends this year, we looked at how “hot dogs” has changed across digital grocery lists. The “Memorial Day bump” was slightly dampened in 2020 – but note that as a whole, the vertical has averaged higher in 2020 than in 2019, and similarly to “beer” above, did not experience the post-Memorial day dip seen in 2019.


AdAdapted’s real-time trends can help you develop your brand strategy to be as flexible as is needed to meet the demands of our ever-changing 2020 outlook.

For more real-time insights and information, visit https://www.adadapted.com/insights and sign up for our newsletter to get updates when we post the latest data.

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