Google Releases Key Insights to Holiday Shopping Behaviors in 2020

The holiday season is just right around the corner, and that means the holiday shopping season is near. Many brands and marketers are looking toward the holiday season as a time to amp up on their marketing initiatives and maximize their opportunities. In line with this, Google published a guide identifying key shopping behaviors. The guide also contains tips for brands to use this new data to their advantage. 

This is what Google had to say about the coming holiday season:

“While there’s no question that the holidays will look a little different this year, it will continue to be a season of peak demand and a critical time to connect with shoppers. More than ever, shoppers are turning online to browse, explore, research, and buy — creating an opportunity for retailers to be discovered, grow their e-commerce offering, and help shoppers find the information and products they need.”

Google highlights five shifts in consumer behavior. Here’s what Google discovered:

A month-long Cyber Monday

The pandemic has certainly altered the way that consumers shop. Now more than ever, online shopping has become one of the main ways people purchase goods and services. According to Google’s data, 46% of online shoppers in the United States are expecting brands to provide consumers with discounts. Google calls for marketers and brands to prepare for an extended holiday shopping and deal-seeking period and for brands to maximize their opportunities for exposure by offering promotions and special deals. 

Digital newcomers driving growth

Google has found that 69% of shoppers in the United States prefer to shop online, which they think is a safer alternative to going out of their homes to shop at physical stores. According to Google, “The increase in online shopping can mean an influx of first-time digital customers for your business. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer attracted 10 million new digital customers in the first half of the year.” To prepare for this, Google suggests listing products on Google to reach consumers who use the search engine to search for gifts. Google also suggests optimizing shop platforms online to make sure users are given the most seamless online shopping experience possible.

Skew towards online SKUs

More purchasing decisions will be made online. According to Google, searches for “fashion shopping online” rose by 600%, which means physical store locations would mostly be used as transaction hubs. This means that a lot of the time, consumers would go to the store already knowing what they want to buy. To prepare for this, brands must amp up their marketing initiatives for certain products and keep close tabs on consumer demands. This is to ensure that they fully understand what consumers want in real-time. Google also suggests updating a store’s Business Profile on Google with accurate information, such as hours of operation, availability for delivery or curbside pickup, and safety protocols.

The purpose-driven shopper 

Consumers nowadays are more inclined to patronize brands that are ethical and with whom they share the same beliefs. 46% of the surveyed shoppers say “I make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values”. Consumers are also highly likely to patronize small, local brands to support local businesses. Google suggests adding in brand attributes so that consumers may immediately see their key values, and brands must optimize their pages for local search.

Something new and something known 

Consumers will be more open to new brands and businesses during this holiday season. Google found that 70% of shoppers in the United States are more open to buying from new brands and businesses. They’ve also found that 70% of viewers use YouTube to get more brand awareness. Google suggests investing in video content to promote their brand and running Discovery ads and Shopping ads. 


These new insights released by Google can guide the way marketers plan and implement their holiday shopping campaigns. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed consumer behavior and preferences, and it is incredibly important for brands to be able to adapt and shift to cater to consumer demand. The data Google has gathered clearly points toward the importance of digital platforms for online shopping, so brands and marketers should work on beefing up their online presence and market according to the shifted consumer trends.



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