4 Questions For Retail Marketers as Holiday Preparations Begin 

| August 17, 2020

It’s more important than ever to understand how and when consumers are buying, their mindset, and what challenges you can help them overcome.  

Consumer behavior has dramatically changed in the last few months. Businesses have closed or faced unique challenges, employees have been laid off or furloughed, and everyone is nervous about the future.  

This sentiment rings true in the retail sector, especially as we approach the holiday season. With the ongoing pandemic, there’s a significant chance that consumers will spend less amid such financial uncertainty. On top of that, many national retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy announced they would be closing on Thanksgiving this year, genuinely creating a holiday season as we’ve never seen before.   

If retailers are to succeed in the upcoming months, it’s more important than ever to understand how and when consumers are buying, their mindset, and what challenges you can help them overcome.  

Q: What is the Current Consumer Mindset?
A: Cautious. With an unprecedented amount of people spending the majority of their time at home, 78% of consumers in the country are shopping less frequently, 64% are buying only essentials, and 45% say Covid-19 has changed the way they shop permanently. We’ve also seen a shift to e-commerce as consumers increasingly move online and seek contact-free options.  

Q: When Will Consumers Buy?
A: Early. As we saw in the early days of the pandemic, delivery times will take longer with the surge of holiday e-commerce and extreme pressure on global supply chains. Experts are predicting that holiday buying will begin in October, ushered in by Amazon Prime Day on the 5th. Historically, retail spending decreases around a presidential election, further underscoring the importance of getting holiday messaging in front of consumers before Election Day.​  

Q: How Will Consumers Buy?
A: Online. We are expecting that 30% of holiday retail sales will be through digital channels. Historically, promos and coupon codes drive holiday purchases, and this year should be no different, as consumers will continue to look for offers that directly impact purchase decisions. 

 Q: How Can My Brand Reach Consumers with TEGNA Marketing Solutions?
A: Mix broadcast, OTT, and digital. As more sports programming comes to television this fall, broadcast and OTT options provide a high-reach, high-impact environment for retailers to generate awareness during live events and original programming.  

On top of that, local news ratings and digital metrics are seeing record highs as consumers turn to trusted local information providers for the latest on COVID’s impact. Appearances on TEGNA’s Lifestyle shows, taped long-form segments, content partnerships, as well as 30-second spots, are an opportunity that can see retailers benefit.  

From a digital perspective, TEGNA’s websites and mobile apps reach an average of 35 million digitally each month, and sponsorships of these platforms come in a variety of forms including display ads, pre-roll digital video, high-impact units and more. They act as the perfect digital complement to TV campaigns. Together, the combination reaches a wide, local audience searching for news and information that helps them with their life’s planning.   

Email and social media will also play a big role in the upcoming holiday season. Email can provide cost-saving offers to consumers and aid in removing friction from advertising to purchase. Social media, meanwhile, ​ is expected to be a critical part of the media strategy for holiday, especially with the launch of Facebook Mall earlier this year​.  


At TEGNA, we’re committed to serving the greater good of our communities. TEGNA Marketing Solutions is a one-stop-shop that helps businesses thrive through an unmatched suite of services and solutions that reach consumers across television, email, social, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, including Premion, TEGNA’s OTT advertising service. Click here to learn more. 



  1. McKinsey & Company, The Next Normal; April 2020
  2. Salesforce; How Covid-19 Will Shape the 2020 Holiday Season; July 2020
  3. eMarketer, US Retail eCommerce Sales Growth; May 2020
  4. EY, Future Consumer Index, April 2020

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