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TV losing out to the third screen during the holidays

Brands would be wise to redirect some of their ad spend this holiday season – if the results of the latest Retail Advertising and Marketing Association research mean anything. According to the survey, a mere 17 percent of consumers said their favorite holiday TV commercial motivated them to shop at that retailer. This bleak statistic must be leaving retailers quaking in their boots because, despite expectations that holiday sales in 2009 will beat those of 2008, consumers are sure to be more selective with their money.

When it comes to deciding where to shop, TV commercials just don’t have the oomph they used to. To get customers through the door, the answer isn’t a 30-second spot…it’s money-saving coupons. Nearly half of respondents said coupons were the top media influencer when it came to deciding which retailers to shop. Meaning, a consumer may forego his favorite store if it means saving a little cash.

And it’s not just TV commercials losing out to coupons. Retailers saw a 15 percent decline in visits to their Web sites during Black Friday 2009 versus 2008, but searches for “printable coupons” jumped 50 percent. Few retailers seem to be getting the hint, however, as most are in a stand-off with thrifty customers waiting until the last minute to get the best deals.

 

JCPenney is one company on top of the trend. It began offering mobile coupons, which let cashiers scan coupons on customers’ mobile phones, back in September. American Greetings is getting on board, too, as it just upgraded its iPhone app to offer coupons, and Gap and Banana Republic are testing mobile coupons at outlet and factory stores in certain markets. The moves should pay off, too. A Deloitte study (client) showed 20 percent of consumers plan to use their mobile phones to assist in holiday shopping.

With only eight shopping days left until Christmas, perhaps now we’ll start to see retailers put a little more marketing muscle – mobile or otherwise – behind stretching customers’ wallets.

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