4 minutes

Q4 Unwrapped: It pays to be early

I think it’s pretty safe to say that all retailers and marketers planning for Q4 are finding they’re in need of some sort of crystal ball this winter. We’re in what seems like the last stages of a global pandemic, normality in the UK is near enough here with rules and regulations lifting, but has consumer behaviour changed for the long-term? 

“How do I plan my Q4 strategy this year, when last Q4 was during the height of the pandemic, and for the Q4 before that, there was no such thing as COVID?” I hear you ask. Whilst we don’t have the most fair and reliable data to work off from the last 2 years to form trends and patterns, I have pulled together insights from our core marketing partners and formed my Q4 predictions and top tips on how retailers should tackle the quarter ahead. 

What our partners are predicting

Having spoken to each of our key partners over the last month, there are several recurring topic areas, predictions and strategy suggestions for Q4 2021.

It pays to be early this year

The first core message from all of our partners is that “if you wait, you’re late”. Last year, 45% of all festive season spending was completed by the end of Cyber Monday! (Salesforce data: 2020 Holiday revenue by day chart). 

Amazon Prime Day in late October helped fuel early holiday shopping, with Google seeing the biggest uplift in revenue YoY came from pre-Cyber week, over Cyber week itself and post-Cyber week too. 

Tip #1 

With many brands struggling over the last 18 months, one of my Q4 suggestions to brands is, don’t over-rely on Cyber-week. De-risk your business’ Q4 by spreading your marketing budgets and activity more evenly in the run up to Black Friday and cash in on those early, in-market shoppers.

As we come out of a year unlike any other, online users are already thinking about a bigger, better holiday season in 2021. Which leads me nicely on to common theme two…


“Revenge spending” is a huge trend this year

People are ready for what they missed out on due to COVID, from shopping to travel. The phrase “revenge spending” has been coined, and refers to the trend of users feeling the need to spend more this year, on both themselves and others, often with the savings accrued over the last 18 months. 

Our friends over at Pinterest state “this year, Pinners are going bigger than ever. 8 in 10 Pinners say that they plan on having a bigger, better Christmas than ever this year”.

Tip #2

With the above in mind, my second tip is to make sure retailers have all the necessary features in place both online and offline for customer cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Think gifting bundles for those users whose festive spending pots are higher this year, you’re utilising channels like display and email to encourage users back to site to make other purchases and you’re using site tools like product recommendations, gift finders and popular products to support higher average order values.


These customers ain’t loyal… well in Q4 anyway! 

Brand agnostic users have been a Q4 trend in recent years, with continued Black Friday demand growth, where loyalty goes out the window during peak sales periods. Pair this with more online demand than ever due to digital convenience and in-store restrictions last year, and you have yourself a huge opportunity to attract new customers to your brand than ever before. 

Google themselves even state that generic searches have grown 3 times faster than branded searches this year so far, with 33% of shoppers in the UK stating they had bought from at least 1 new brand in the last month alone. 

Tip #3

If one of your business objectives is new customer acquisition, Q4 is the time to do it! Make sure you budget enough over Q4, so your ads don’t exhaust over key sales dates, you don’t want to end up losing out on new OR existing customers to your competitors. 

When winning over new customers, whether it’s peak season or not, ensuring you have a speedy mobile site is vital. We suggest using the Google Test My Site tool to analyse and learn how to optimise your mobile site and boost your speed. Making the necessary changes to your site in advance of Q4, means you’re giving your site a much improved user experience, you’re likely to have a lower bounce rate and as a bonus, you might even notice your CPC’s are lower due to improved quality scores!  


If you’re keen to delve deeper into how to really nail down that Q4 planning ahead of the rest, I’ll be delivering a webinar ‘It pays to be early’ on Thursday 2nd September from 11am that’s completely free to join. Places are limited so please sign up using our registration page here >> https://weareortus.com/q4-unwrapped-it-pays-to-be-early/