Do you ever wish you could get a peek into your readers’ minds so you can give them the perfect content that grabs their attention, makes them want to share with friends and family, and keeps them coming back for more?
We surveyed over 500 consumers and analyzed their responses to help you do just that!
Based on the results of the 2020 AdThrive Holiday Study, our insights team isolated key themes driving consumer behavior this holiday season and identified 5 distinct personas that will drive the ways people celebrate, shop, and consume content this holiday season.
In today’s post, you’ll learn about these 5 holiday personas, their driving patterns, main sources of inspiration, and how you can tailor your content to their preferences. You can create one piece of content and promote it in five different ways to reach each audience!
You’ll also find a bonus analysis of 5 themes common across ALL responses — because 2020 has highlighted that despite individual differences, finding community is a beautiful thing!
AdThrive Publisher-Exclusive content unlocked!
Based on the responses to our survey, we found that most folks seem to fit into one of these five categories:
- The Holiday Automator
- The Yuletide Splurger
- The Holiday Homebody
- The Gift Giver
- The Unwavering Traditionalist
How did we arrive at these categories?
Our survey showed that some of the biggest determinants of how consumers will approach this holiday season are:
- Apprehension toward COVID-19
- An innate sense of the holiday spirit
- Reliance on the internet for ideas and inspiration
We plotted responses along two axes — holiday enthusiasm and COVID caution — and looked for commonalities in the way people are approaching the holidays this year.
Let’s unpack each of these holiday personas and see how you can use this to tailor your content!
1) The Holiday Automator
- Their motto: Is it on the list?
- Social media platform of choice: Instagram
- Ideal virtual holiday event: Toasting with an onscreen drink/cocktail
The Holiday Automator uses the internet to power their holidays, including their get-togethers with loved ones.
This celebrator is sticking to their normal plans and budget. They’re excited about the holidays but they’re not going out of their way to try new things, make things from scratch, or cook more this year.
They use the internet for all their inspiration, doing their online research and efficiently crossing off the holiday checklist. Most of their holiday shopping will be done before Thanksgiving. And they’re very open to taking celebrations virtual this year.
Reaching the Holiday Automator:
- Focus on ways to make the 2020 holidays as normal as possible and seamlessly transition in-person traditions to virtual ones.
- Give them easy, step-by-step guides and checklists.
- Help them get their shopping done early — and efficiently. Swipe up on Instagram? They’re here for it!
2) The Yuletide Splurger
- Their motto: It’s all about the kids!
- Social media platform of choice: Pinterest
- Ideal virtual holiday event: Having a meal together
The Yuletide Splurger is all about making the holidays extra special for their families given all the chaos of this year.
Even if COVID has impacted their income, they’re spending and splurging more on the holidays this year, especially on their kids. Online is their main source for holiday inspiration, and they’re using blogs for everything from holiday planning and decor, to food, gifts, and more!
Yuletide Splurger parents are being flexible in the “new normal” — trying new traditions, cooking new recipes, and embracing virtual celebrations. They’re also making sure to put in those thoughtful touches by making DIY and handmade gifts, stepping up their decorations, and cooking more. Family is everything and, as such, they’re also not adverse to traveling for the holidays to be able to celebrate with their loved ones.
Reaching the Yuletide Splurger:
- Focus on ways to make the 2020 holidays more special than ever and frame new ideas for social distancing and COVID-19 adaptations as opportunities for making memories.
- Give them fun new things to try as a family — from DIY and crafts to recipes, challenges, and traditions. How is the Elf on the Shelf adapting this year?
- Help them splurge on meaningful family gifts and experiences.
3) The Holiday Homebody
- Their motto: I’ll be (staying) home for Christmas
- Social media platform of choice: YouTube
- Ideal virtual holiday event: Playing games/trivia
Sticking close to home these holidays, the Holiday Homebody is waiting to see what happens before finalizing plans.
They’re avoiding in-person events, cutting their guest lists, and not traveling for the holidays this year. They are skipping in-store shopping, opting for deals that are both online and on sale.
Given the apprehension for the future, they’re not as excited about the holidays this year and are less likely to stick to their normal holiday traditions. They’re less interested in decorating this year and less likely to splurge on holiday purchases compared to years past.
That said, their homes will be their holiday sanctuaries. Being a more foodie-driven group, they’ll be turning to their kitchens for some seasonal comfort, cooking more and baking more difficult recipes from scratch. They also are open to trying new things while at home and enjoy reading blogs and scouring the internet for holiday inspiration and gift ideas in this crazy time.
Reaching the Holiday Homebody:
- Share ways to bring the holiday magic home this year and banish holiday blues that come from uncertainty and altered plans.
- Focus on sales and deals.
- Help them use their increased time at home with leveled-up recipes and handicrafts, especially when it comes to giving gifts that are cost-conscious but also full of heart. Don’t forget the step-by-step video content!
- Think outside the box — how can families and friends share a laugh across screens?
4) The Gift Giver
- Their motto: Shopping is my therapy
- Social media platform of choice: TikTok
- Ideal virtual holiday event: Watching a movie/TV together
COVID is a major consideration for this group and the holidays aren’t a source of excitement or escape for them.
This group tends to be single, young professionals living in the city or nearby suburbs with less time for holiday planning this year than in past years. With the uncertainty of everything, they’re putting off finalizing plans, avoiding in-store shopping, and budgeting less for the holidays in general.
However, even if they’re not cooking or decorating as much as they used to, they still want to make the people in their lives feel special.
Gift-giving is the main way they’ll be showing their holiday spirit this year — an activity you can participate in even if you’re not face-to-face. Although they’re trying to budget for the holidays and cut back this year, they’ll be spending more on gifts for family and friends, doing more DIY and handmade gifts, and even splurging more on little things for themselves.
Reaching the Gift Giver:
- Tap into your inner millennial and look for creative and multimedia ways to reach this group of shoppers.
- Share clever, on-trend gifts for family and friends, but don’t forget to highlight ways to treat themselves as well.
- Give them last-minute options for quick pivots on plans — recipes or DIYs with easy-to-find components, menus that can be pulled together on the day of, gifts that ship quickly.
5) The Unwavering Traditionalist
- Their motto: Holidays or bust!
- Social media platform of choice: Facebook
- Ideal virtual holiday event: Virtual, smirtual! Rather hang out in-person.
The Unwavering Traditionalist sees the holidays as a source of escape, nostalgia, and excitement, and this group won’t let COVID get in the way of their festivities.
These traditionalists will be going about their lives as close to normal as possible — shopping in-store, cooking their favorite tried-and-true recipes, sticking to their holiday plans, and attending and hosting bigger get-togethers.
Their enthusiasm is unbridled and they are planning and shopping earlier than ever this year. Not huge fans of the internet, they like to stick to their normal traditions instead of seeking food, gift, or decor inspiration online.
Reaching the Unwavering Traditionalist:
- Knowing that this group prefers Facebook, tailor your content for Facebook with traditions and nostalgia in mind. Your content that did well in 2019 will likely do well again with this group!
- While this group LOVES to spend the holidays in person, that just might not be a reality for many this year. Help them find the same joy and excitement in virtual events that mirror their traditions of past years.
- Focus on feel-good stories vs. current events.
Bonus… The 5 holiday mindsets infographic
5 themes to keep in mind during the 2020 holiday season for maximum content success
Even though people have vastly different mindsets around everything from planning, sources of inspiration, shopping strategies, in-person vs. virtual gatherings, and more, we found that most people have the following themes in common no matter their thoughts or approaches to the holidays this year.
1) Meaningful & thoughtful
People are looking for ways to add extra heart into the holidays this year whether it be through gifts, food, decorations, Christmas cards, etc. The holidays will be especially important to many this year, so help your readers add thoughtful touches that go above and beyond to elevate the season and people’s spirits.
As people continue to avoid in-person and in-store environments, they’ll continue to turn to the internet for more and more of their holiday activities, from getting decorating inspiration, to finding recipes, shopping for great deals, and celebrating virtually. Help them seamlessly transition to this digital-first holiday world and find ways to make it magical.
3) Nostalgia & escapism
Eager to escape the current situation, people are throwing themselves into their festive planning and celebrations. They’re also looking back at more peaceful and less stressful times, feeling especially nostalgic this year. Find ways to freshen up old traditions, immerse people in the holiday spirit, and bring unexpected joy to the hearts and souls of your readers.
4) Flexible & scalable
With all the anxiety and cautiousness in the world, flexibility is key this holiday season. Be ready to pivot and stay agile with your content, and help your readers do the same!
5) Fostering community
Creating connections — whether they be amongst family or friends, in-person or virtual — is going to be especially important as we head into the winter months and there are fewer outdoor options for socially-distanced get togethers. Help your readers sustain and build relationships, an investment in everyone’s mental and emotional health. In a year of isolation, you’re in a unique position to bring people together!
2020 has certainly dealt out its fair share of trials and challenges. We hope these AdThrive publisher-exclusive insights are helpful as you navigate not only your holiday content strategy but also your own holiday experience with family, friends, and loved ones.
Happy holidays from your AdThrive team and as always, we’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts to share or questions to ask!