Lauren Kaye

It’s that time again – the holidays are just around the corner. And even if it seems like you just put those summer marketing campaigns on the shelf, it’s time to move full speed ahead with strategies for the busiest time of the year.

There’s even more hanging in the balance for 2013 because all signs point toward a bigger season and greater ROI for agile marketing teams. With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, here are 34 statistics to be thankful for this holiday season.

Holiday shopping 2013 is going to explode

Consumer studies from various organizations and institutions are unanimous about the fact that customers are planning to give generously this year despite economic hurdles. Even though the holiday shopping season is six days shorter than in 2012 (the most pinched timeline since 2002), many people expect to spend more for the 2013 holidays and the internet is key. Pressed for time, more consumers will window shop virtually and buy online.

1. The average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts in 2013, and overall holiday spending is expected to hit $602.1 billion this year.

2. Holiday sales will increase 3.9% in 2013 compared to 2012

Holiday spending is expected to hit $602.1 billion this year.

3. American adults are expected to spend 11% more on gifts in 2013 than in 2012.

4. The average adult between 25-34 will spend 19% more on gifts this year than in 2012.

5. Cyber Monday sales are expected to increase 15% in 2013 to nearly $2.3 billion.

6. Thanksgiving Day sales are set to rise 21% in 2013 to nearly $1.1 billion, surpassing the billion-dollar benchmark for the first time ever.

7. Black Friday Sales are expected to increase 17% to $1.6 billion in 2013.

The web is America’s favorite shopping companion

Glossy holiday catalogs are out and online storefronts are in. Consumers have embraced the internet as a go-to resource for holiday purchase, and brands that make their sites a wealth of information and entertainment will drive conversions online and in stores.

8. 89% of consumers plan to use the internet for holiday shopping in 2013.

9. 51.5% of U.S. consumers plan to shop online for their holiday gifts this year.

People who search for products on the web are 1.5x more likely to buy than people who don’t use search.

10. 79% of shoppers think the internet is the MVP Resource for online shopping this year.

11. People who search for products on the web are 1.5x more likely to buy than people who don’t use search to perform gift-giving research.

12. Consumers who search for products in the holiday season are 140% more likely to convert than year-round shoppers.

13. Shoppers who search for product category terms (rather than for specific brands) are 3x more likely to convert during the holidays.

14. In 2013, 63% of consumers admit they plan to showroom – look at products in stores and order online.

Good website content: Proven to get conversions

When it comes to the internet, the “If you build it, they will come” approach doesn’t always apply. It’s more like: “If you build something great, that’s interesting to look at and worth revisiting, they will come … and then come back … and eventually convert.” Marketers who create quality content across formats will see success this holiday season because their brand collateral attracts clicks and compels viewers to act.

15. In 2013, 43% of marketers will earn customers with their blog content.

16. 65% of consumers plan to browse products online before purchasing in stores this holiday season.

43% of marketers will earn customers with their blog content.

17. 44% of viewers purchase more after watching relevant videos.

18. A cross-industry sample found that 16% of organic traffic converts on average.

19. Email open rates increased to 31% in Q1 2013, up 18.6% year-over-year, indicating brands are getting better at delivering valuable and relevant messages.

20. Social marketing reaches 72% of U.S. adults.

Social is a tried and true sales tool for the holiday (and year-round)

Nearly three-quarters of all American adults now use social networks, and as membership counts rise, so do opportunities for brands to connect with consumers. Social media participation is no longer the cherry-on-top of a strong web marketing strategy. It’s something customers expect, and marketers who actively engage their followers can drive stronger results through the year end.

21. 36% of Americans will consult social media content to inform around 30% of their holiday purchases.

22. …but only 2% of transactions will come directly from social interactions, which means social content is the start of a conversation that directs followers back to brands’ websites.

23. In 2013, 36% of marketers will win customers through Twitter.

24. 22% of Twitter users purchase as the result of online interactions with products/services.

25. 30% of Pinterest users buy products or services as the result of online interactions them on social networks.

26. 38% of Facebook users purchase products or services after first engaging with them on the site.

36% of Americans will consult social media content to inform around 30% of their holiday purchases.

27. 40% of consumers say social media content  impacts their purchase decisions.

28. In 2013, 43% of marketers say they find customers through LinkedIn.

29. Just under one-third of consumers find websites through social networks.

30. This year, customers will use the internet twice as often as TV or catalogs for holiday shopping research.

31.  59% of consumers are open to buying from new brands when searching for this perfect holiday gifts in 2013.

Web leads don’t stop with the New Year

The 2013 holiday season is just the start, and marketers will see these trends carry over into the New Year and throughout 2014. More consumers are embracing the web as a shopping tool to find the best products at the right price point. Marketers must capitalize on opportunities throughout the holiday season to share content that will build awareness around their offerings and earn loyalty that will keep their pipeline filled year round.

32. 81% of U.S. consumers will be online shoppers by 2017.

81% of U.S. consumers will be online shoppers by 2017.

33. Ecommerce sales continued to increase in Q1 of 2013, rising 13% to $5 billion after a holiday season with sales totaling $42.3 billion. Stronger spending this year could likewise carry over into 2014.

34. During the first three quarters of 2012, ecommerce spending totaled $129.4 before a record-breaking holiday season. Between Q1 and Q3 2013, online sales already reached $147.5 billion and could continue to build momentum on strong year-end performance.

Don’t miss sales opportunities or leave your customers out in the cold this holiday season. Shoppers are already online in search of the gifts their family and friends will love, and brands must be there with ideas, answers and promotions that make holiday shopping something to be thankful for.