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“Early Summer Shopping? Sure, But We’ll Spend Less,” Consumers Say

56% of consumers plan to shop for summer items in May and June, but 78% of consumers plan to spend the same or less for summer merchandise, the Optimove 2023 Consumer Summer Shopping Survey shows. For retailers, it means that getting consumers to spend more will be a struggle and that existing customers will hold the most promise

Something about the passage of time repeatedly catches us all off-guard. And sure, 2023 just started, but summer’s somehow approaching. This, for us, immediately begs the question, what will summer shopping look like this season for brands? Will it sizzle or fizzle? 

To find out, we did what we always do in these situations: fielded a consumer survey. You know, like we did on consumer trust, marketing fatigue, holiday shopping, and more. 

Let’s start with the bottom line: Most consumers, at 78%, plan to spend the same or less for summer items compared to 2022, and only 22% plan to spend more. Almost half of the consumers surveyed have less confidence in the economy compared to 2022. For retailers, it means that getting consumers to spend more will be a struggle and that existing customers will hold the most promise.  

To engage existing customers more efficiently, brands must employ a Customer-Led approach to marketing that champions starting every marketing action with the customer rather than a product or service. 

What else? Consumers would like to start shopping early this year, as more than half (56%) plan to shop in May and June. As almost seven in ten (68%) want to know about sales by April, respondents to our survey said they are willing to act and buy. 51% said an early sale could “sometimes and often” motivate them to buy.   

This summer season, consumers are after clothing (78%), swimwear (58%), home goods, and beauty products, each at (50%). What will motivate them to shop with your brand? 77% said “price” and 78% “quality.” A distant third is brand reputation at 28%.   

As discussed in our Consumer Trust report, consumers will often decline to hit that “buy now” button if they don’t trust your brand. 

“Consumer trust is a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy,” we wrote in a our Trust report blog post. “It’s more important than any promotion, feature, funny post on social, or brand color.” 

Trust is paramount in brands getting consumers to act, our current survey further shows, as 73% will unsubscribe if they think a brand misused their personal information. Trust is the cornerstone of loyalty. Respondents noted that trust is earned through word-of-mouth reputation by consumers reading online reviews or talking to friends.   

Another key finding is that omnichannel marketing is growing in importance for brands. Except for travel, about 40% of consumers shop in-store and online. 79% of shoppers said that when shopping in-store, they check prices online. It underscores that retailers without omnichannel capabilities are disadvantaged in connecting with the customer.

“Retailers need to be aware of consumer preferences and behavior when it comes to shopping for summer items,” said Pini Yakuel, CEO and founder of Optimove. “Ultimately, retailers must act as advisors first and sales machines second, offering guidance to consumers to build trust and loyalty.”  

More results from the report? Download your copy of the report

What can you do? We have some ideas.

Effective marketing is based on a brand’s ability to listen to each customer and suggest the next best action based on feedback. So, all promotions and offers are relevant to the customer. It is personalization at scale, meeting the customer with the right product/promotion on the right channel at the right time. 

To connect with thousands, even millions of customers individually, brands should take several steps to meet consumers’ preferences and expectations. For example, brands should have instant access to unified historical, real-time, and predictive customer data to discover valuable customer insights that can be leveraged for campaign personalization.  

Marketers also need the ability to go beyond simple rule-based automation to determine the next best action while catering to changes in customer behavior in real-time. 

More ways to engage consumers? Download your copy of the report

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Guy Leshno

Guy Leshno, a seasoned PR and Communications professional, with a successful track record in leading PR strategies and projects in emerging startups. With over a decade of experience, his expertise lies in blending creative ideation, analytics, and expert writing capabilities, driving brand awareness, and improving sales.