Roku: Holiday Shoppers Expect to Increase Spending, Streaming Video in 2021

Consumer confidence is strong with shoppers projected to increase spending heading into the winter holidays, according to new data from Roku’s 2021 Annual Holiday Consumer Shopping study in partnership with The Harris Poll.

This year’s survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults found 72% of holiday consumers expressing confidence the economy will improve in the next 12 months. More than 36% of respondents plan on spending more this year, a significant increase from the past three years (and the highest number reported since 2018). Another 39% of streaming holiday shoppers (shoppers who have streamed content in the last three months) plan to spend more in 2021, a major increase from 2020. The report also finds consumers expect to spend a record $937 on holiday purchases — a 5% increase from 2020.

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Consumers Report Spending More Time Streaming than Watching Traditional TV

In 2020, consumers reported for the first time that they spent more time streaming TV than watching traditional TV on average. The 2021 holiday report finds that the divide between time spent streaming and watching traditional TV grew 500%. The average holiday shopper reported they now spend 78 minutes more per week streaming video.

These self-reported numbers trend with the rapid growth in TV streaming. Millennials watch 30% more TV streaming content than linear television content, according to July 2021 Roku viewership insights. Overall, one-third of holiday shoppers (32%) stated they do not have traditional pay-TV. Nearly half of Gen Z holiday shoppers are cordless, and 83% of baby boomer cord cutters said that it was unlikely they would reactivate or purchase a new pay TV subscription.

TV streaming is now mainstream with 86% of US households now streaming – that’s the same number that report owning a washing machine according to Statista!

“Individual spending could hit record levels this holiday season as consumers report significant growth in their holiday spending plans,”  Dan Robbins, VP of Ad Marketing and Partner Solutions at Roku, said in a statement.

In-Store Makes Comeback, but Online Remains Dominant

2021 is expected to see a return to in-store shopping. Nearly half of shoppers (43%) plan to shop in-store this Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This marks an 11-percentage point increase from 2020 (32%), when COVID concerns kept many shoppers away from retail stores. However, online shopping remains dominant, with the majority of shoppers (57%) planning to do most of their shopping online.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers are Streaming and Spending More

Millennials, America’s largest generation with a combined spending power of more than $1.4 trillion annually, are leading the pack away from traditional TV to TV streaming. Nearly one-third of millennial shoppers (31%) are cordless and unreachable via pay TV ad campaigns. This demographic is also primed to spend with more than half of these millennials (51%) — highest among generational groups — planning to spend more on gifts this holiday than in 2020. Millennial holiday consumers report planning to spend more than $1,000 on gifts this holiday.

Big Ticket Purchases Increase

With the holiday consumer economic confidence improving, 32% of consumers plan to purchase big-ticket items over $500 this season — the most since the study’s inception. What are they buying? Two in three holiday shoppers (63%) said they plan to purchase consumer electronics this year. Who are they buying for? With spending increasing in the forecast there will be a lot of gifts to go around this year and millennials plan to spend the most on themselves ($157) compared to other age groups. Men plan to spend nearly twice as much on their spouse/significant other than women do this holiday season ($213 versus $118) and they are also feeling generous towards themselves as men plan to spend twice as much on self-gifting as women plan to ($120 versus $61).

Marketers Shifting to Buy TV The Way Holiday Consumers Watch TV

Nearly half of consumers (49%) said they have seen an ad on their TV streaming device that caused them to pause what they were watching and shop for the product online, a significant increase from 2020. 46% of holiday consumers say they rely on traditional or TV streaming ads for inspiration when shopping for gifts. The “always-on” consumer is driving marketers to buy TV advertising where holiday shoppers now watch TV, making streaming a must-have for advertisers this season.

“The consumer march away from traditional television to streaming TV is now a full stampede,” said Connie Xu, Director of Brand Strategy at The Harris Poll.  “Holiday shoppers on average spend more time streaming TV than watching traditional TV. This shift will break decades-old advertising models as brands adapt to the new consumer streaming landscape by reaching shoppers where they now spend most of their TV viewing time.”

Target Adding 160 Disney Stores Nationwide Heading Into Winter Holidays

Target Aug. 23 announced it would expand the presence of Disney Stores within its retail footprint, adding 160 retail locations throughout its 1,900-store footprint nationwide heading into the winter holidays. Target and Disney first partnered with the “shops-in-shops” concept in 2019.

Target, along with Walmart and Best Buy, remains one of the largest retailers of packaged media, including DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies. Disney Stores represent the consumer products (i.e. toys, apparel, books, games and DVDs) segment for myriad Disney movie properties, including Star Wars, Frozen and Raya and the Last Dragon, among others.

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Target said it also plans to grow a dedicated online Disney store platform for consumers seeking branded toys, games and movies.

Separately, Target has updated its “Bullseye’s Top Toys of 2021” to include Paramount Pictures’ Paw Patrol: The Movie Ultimate City Tower Playset, in addition to refreshed inventories of Nintendo Switch OLED, Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy-Con, Sony PlayStation 5 console and Microsoft Xbox Series S system.

“Target continues to be a top toy destination for all families, and we’re pleased to offer unique experiences and a curated toy assortment that brings joy to parents and children of all ages,” Nik Nayar, SVP of hardlines at Target, said in a statement.

Retail consultant Steve Dennis contends that with the shuttering of the Toys ‘R’ Us chain, retailers have an opportunity to grab market share through diversity of product and brand selections.

“One of the trends that I think they’re leaning into is ‘How do you create more uniqueness and differentiation for your brand’ and kind of elevate it from the typical sort of merchandising?” Dennis told CNBC. “What’s that extra reason to go to the store or go to the website or perhaps, buy something else on your trip?”

Walmart Bows Holiday Recipes, E-Commerce on Tastemade Streaming Video Service

Walmart is partnering with media company Tastemade to launch two special holiday episodes of the Daytime Emmy-nominated series “Struggle Meals” on Tastemade’s streaming network.

The episodes are Tastemade’s first brand partnership for the online series, and allow streamers to shop for holiday recipe ingredients using Walmart’s pickup and delivery service for delivery or curbside pickup. The first episode just launched, followed by the second episode, which will go live Dec. 17.

With the pandemic prompting more families to cook at home and prepare meals in advance, Walmart is focused on finding innovative solutions and partners to help streamline the process for people to get food on their tables. The streaming video episodes offer tips on how to cook inventive, better-for-you, minimum waste meals that aim to save time and money, while also alleviating the stress of holiday cooking and planning.

“Struggle Meals” is hosted by Chef Frankie Celenza and is one of Tastemade’s most successful shows to-date, garnering an audience of more than one million viewers per week cross-platform.

“Viewers will be able to easily shop all the ingredients for these amazing holiday recipes, while cooking alongside their favorite chef and enjoying delicious meals with their loved ones,” Mary Schulke, associate director of strategic partnerships at Walmart, said in a statement.

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Viewers have the opportunity to text an on-screen number from their phones to add ingredients from the featured recipes in the episodes directly to their Walmart shopping cart using Walmart’s pickup and delivery service.

In each episode, Chef Frankie offers techniques to cook Thanksgiving and holiday-themed meals, and shares tips to creatively use ingredients viewers already have at home to make delicious fare for their guests in addition to the main dishes. The Struggle Meals holiday edition features a unique take on bold holiday flavors, including dishes like Thanksgiving turkey burgers, cinnamon nutmeg doughnuts, tacos with holiday brisket, creamy butternut squash soup, and more.

“The holidays will look a little different this year, so with these special Struggle Meals episodes, we’ve partnered with Walmart to help consumers prepare delicious meals that will save time and money, and that will allow for more time to be spent with friends and loved ones — whether that’s virtually or in-person,” said Jeff Imberman, head of sales and brand partnerships at Tastemade.

The episodes will air on Tastemade’s streaming network, on the newly launched Tastemade en Español streaming channel (with Spanish subtitles). These episodes will also be available on Struggle Meals’ YouTubeSnapchat, and Facebook, and Tastemade’s FacebookInstagram, and TikTok.

Report: ‘Friends’ Most-Watched TV Show Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In addition to football, TV show re-runs dominate viewer interest around the Thanksgiving holiday, according to new data from USDish, a reseller of Dish Network. While movies dominate around Christmas, TV show episodes rank high among viewers over Thanksgiving, with “Friends” the most popular TV show. Of the 15 TV show episodes that ranked most-popular, 10 were “Friends” episodes.

In compiling its data, USDish analyzed the top 15 holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data. To qualify, each episode had to meet the following criteria: Contain the keywords “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” or “New Year’s Eve,” respectively; be produced between 1990 and 2020; have more than 1,500 IMDb votes; and achieve a rating of 7.5 and above.

“Once we narrowed down our search, we found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings,” wrote Travis Peterson, author of the study. “Then we ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership.”

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To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November, December and January, respectively, USDish analyzed Google Trends data.

The study found that comedy and romance are hits around Thanksgiving, with more than 93% of the top episodes categorized as comedy. Thirteen out of the 15 TV episodes (87%) are also categorized as romance.

Apparently Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a little throwback TV. Seven out of the top 15 episodes aired in the ’90s, while six aired in the 2000s. The average running time of all episodes on the list is 24 minutes.