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Vacation searches begin early this year, Microsoft reports

Vacation searches begin early this year, Microsoft reports

Holiday shopping starts early this year, and a new report from Microsoft aims to make marketers aware of changes in customer expectations.

Microsoft identifies four key shifts to the market this holiday season:

Shoppers start early this year. Alternative payments and delivery methods will be in demand. Sustainability will be a trend. Advertising competition will be high.

Stephanie Worley, Global Brand Marketer for Microsoft Advertising, states:

“This holiday season, we expect an increasing e-commerce uptake and shopping that begins earlier than ever. It used to be Black Friday that started the U.S. shopping season, but not this year. Now 32% of customers, enhanced by e-commerce, say they plan to start shopping in the early fall. ”


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The time is now to get into holiday shopping mode. This is how consumers see it in different ways this year.

Holiday searches and shopping start early

Shoppers make holiday purchases earlier in the year, but even before then, they will hit the search engines to research products.

76% of consumers worldwide bought a product because of research online. 48% of consumers worldwide used product search. 25% of all global online orders came from shoppers who used the search bar.

Microsoft data shows that consumers research even more about products before buying them. Now the research phase can be 30 days or more.


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The research phase is now taking “longer than ever”, which means companies need to be ready to meet customers where they are on their shopping journey.

A longer research phase gives companies a greater opportunity to reach out to customers before their minds are decided.

Customers want alternatives

There is a real possibility that companies will face challenges in maintaining a sufficient stock in the store this year.

Avoid customer disappointment by being prepared for alternatives, e.g. Gift card.

Microsoft’s data indicates that one in four customers would buy a gift card if they could not find the item they wanted.

When it comes to products that are in stock, customers want alternative ways to acquire them, e.g. By buying online and picking up in the store.

If your business offers options like gift cards, in-store pickup and buying now and paying later, you should make this information clear to all customers.

Sustainability is trendy

Customers are looking for companies, brands and products that match their beliefs about environmental and social causes.

Microsoft says the average search volume for sustainability and sustainable products has grown 37% annually since 2019.

High competition in advertising

Microsoft predicts that retailers will see a highly competitive holiday season 2021.

Price per. Clicks increase by 15% over the previous quarter due to more clicks on competitive queries in the second quarter.

Advertisers should revisit their keywords and bidding strategies to win the competition.


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Next step

Microsoft’s report shows several common themes around the 2021 holiday shopping season:

Previous research and shopping Increased competition More online orders Greater interest in alternative purchases and pick-up options Changing consumer expectations

Take advantage of this unusually long shopping window by being ready with the right message at the right time in the right places.

Source: Microsoft Advertising Blog

Featured Image: Stock Rocket

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