New insights from Google show that marketers should make the final week before Christmas a priority in their festive strategies. More specifically, the tech giant reveals that last-minute purchases are the norm for Christmas shoppers these days and the real festive period for retailers starts in those final days before Christmas.

So let’s take a look at what Google has to say about the final week before Christmas Day and how you might need to adapt your marketing strategy for next week.


Christmas shopping kicks off next week

While retailers are starting their Christmas promotion earlier off in the year, it turns out consumers are leaving it longer to actually make their purchases. Mobile puts Xmas shopping inspiration at everyone’s fingertips but it also empowers them to compare as many retailers as they want before they find the right deal for them.

Earlier this year, Google highlighted that online consumers are buying on their terms and this remains true over the festive period.


“When shoppers consider a new purchase, they spend 13 days on average shopping for the item. But once they decide to buy, almost half expect it either the same day or the next day. In fact, mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have grown 120% since 2015.” Inside AdWords


The search giant says it sees as many online conversions in the final week before Christmas as it does during the week of Cyber Monday. It also sees 34% more shopping searches conducted on Christmas Day – when retailers are closed – as it does on Black Friday.

Clearly, the Christmas shopping spree doesn’t end on December 25.


The offline Christmas rush

Retailers in the UK usually stop delivering products between December 21-24 and this marks a drastic change in consumer behaviour. Online orders are no good to people anymore and there’s a mad dash to find products in-store, in stock and in the local area.


Source: Inside AdWords


This explains the peak in “where can I buy” searches taking place on December 24 when shoppers are running out of time to make those final few purchases. Searches for “open now”, “store hours”, “what shops are open on Christmas Day” and “what stores are open right now” all increase during those last few days. Likewise, people turn to Google Maps to check what’s open in their local area and connect with nearby businesses.


It doesn’t end with Christmas Day

Google’s data also reveals that the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just as busy as the other days in December. In fact, only the final week before Christmas has more consumer activity than the week that follows it. Once again, it’s not only online purchases that jump back up after Christmas Day, but also in-store traffic as people take to the high street.


Green: Aggregate store traffic | Dark blue: Toy stores | Light blue: Video game stores; Source: Inside AdWords


Even in the US, this equates to more foot traffic than many retailers experience on Black Friday. Of course, Black Friday isn’t anywhere near as big a deal for us here in the UK but this only emphasises the importance of this post-Christmas rush.


What does this mean for your marketing strategy?

The first thing these new insights confirm is that next week is the most important of the entire Christmas period for retailers. People are waiting until the final week to make many of their holiday purchases and this means they might not even discover your brand until a few days before Santa rides in.

The key is to target the search queries that matter most as buyer intent changes. AdWords gives you the best chance of doing this and here are some key things to be doing next week:


  • Remarketing: Remind existing leads about your product and tweak your remarketing ad message to create a sense of urgency.
  • Target last-minute buyers: Adjust your keyword bids in the final week to prioritise last-minute buyers.
  • Shift to local marketing: Once your delivery cut-off point passes, switch your marketing efforts to a more localised strategy.
  • Use local inventory ads: To show people you have what they’re looking for when they need it most.
  • Look beyond Christmas: Adjust your strategy starting from Christmas Day for the days leading up to the New Year.


It’s too late to adapt your SEO strategy to make a difference significant difference next week, but there’s still time to make some adjustments to your PPC campaigns. These insights from Google show how user intent changes during the final week before Christmas and the kind of search queries you should be targeting.

Consumer habits over the Christmas period have become more concentrated in recent years and there’s a drastic shift as retailers stop sending out deliveries. Brands that are able to adapt their advertising strategy to match these changing habits in the final week before Christmas (and the few weeks following it) are the ones who will win big this Christmas.


If you need help with adapting your advertising strategy for the Christmas rush or the start of 2018, get in touch with our team of specialists by filling out the form below, giving us a call or simply reaching out to us on social media.