Connected TV

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year for Retailers (Finally)

MNTN and eTail Discuss How CTV Is Making Retailers Merry and Bright

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of Year for Retailers (Finally)

4 Min Read

It’s almost that time. Soon, across stores worldwide, the price tags will be hung from the merchandise with care, in the hopes that new customers will soon be there. But unlike the last few years, retailers are the most joyous they’ve been in years, as the stores experience their first post-COVID holiday season and customers indicate they’re eager to spend more money than ever. Despite the optimism, a lot of questions remain: How has the pandemic changed consumer behavior? Will customers be returning to stores physically or staying online? And what does all of this mean for 2023 and beyond?

To see how retailers are navigating this new landscape, MNTN and Worldwide Business Research (WBR) polled 100 marketers from leading retail brands. Kristen Navarro, Director of Customer Success at MNTN, and WBR shared the findings in our recent webinar, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Normal: How Retailers Are Navigating a Post-COVID Holiday. A full recording of the webinar, which features key insights from the study and data-driven strategies to maximize holiday success, can be found here—or you can keep reading below for a few takeaways.

A Season of Changing Consumer Behaviors

Navarro started off the discussion by giving data-sourced insights on why this holiday season is something to celebrate. 74% of consumers are planning to spend the same amount, or more, than last year on gifts, and the average shopper will spend $1,430 on gifts. By end of the year, $5.5 trillion is expected in online sales. But that doesn’t mean retailers aren’t nervous. “Despite the good news, there is still a lot of uncertainty this year,” cautioned Navarro. She pointed to consumer expectations and behaviors, which quickly—and dramatically—changed during the pandemic.

“Free delivery, price, convenience, and company mission matter more to shoppers,” Navarro said. “Consumers got used to digital shopping during the pandemic; will they return to the brick-and-mortar stores?” Navarro pointed out that today’s shoppers have adopted an omnichannel approach to their shopping, engaging with a variety of channels to research products and services before making a purchase. Thankfully, marketers are taking a page out of their own consumers’ playbooks. “To meet this change, retailers are also adopting an omnichannel approach—and making CTV a centerpiece of that strategy,” said Navarro.

Why CTV is on Retailers’ Wish Lists

Despite retail marketers’ long history with linear TV, our polling with WBR showed that its status as the top channel is waning. In just a few short years, CTV has gone from underdog to nearly tying linear TV in usage; 81% of the retailers we polled say they run smart TV ads, while just 1% more said they run linear TV ads. The secret behind streaming’s success? The ability to accurately measure campaign impact and ROAS.

When asked how effective each channel is at measuring and tying success to specific goals, the retail marketers we surveyed didn’t hold back:

  •  61% said CTV is “very effective”
  • 22% said linear TV is “very effective”
  • 1% said CTV isn’t effective

Only 1% of marketers saying CTV isn’t effective is shockingly low, but that wasn’t good enough; we still wanted to learn why. In their follow-up answers, these respondents told us they struggled with two factors:

  • A lack of time and resources for ad analysis
  • Their CTV platform placed too much emphasis on reach and awareness

“These respondents [in the 1% category] would benefit from a CTV platform that better aligned with their objectives,” said Navarro.

Streaming in the New Year

Retailers’ adoption of CTV shows no signs of slowing down after the holidays. “95% of respondents told us that CTV will play a significant role in their omnichannel marketing strategy in 2023,” said Navarro. As for the 5% who responded otherwise, they said in follow-up questions that this was due to specific issues with their advertising process or ad platform. “For example, they have too many manual processes or are struggling to place CTV ads alongside premium inventory,” elaborated Navarro.

Poll respondents told us that a big part of their commitment to CTV stems from how well it compliments their existing digital strategies. In fact, 83% of retail marketers told us they expect to increase digital ad budgets in the next year, with CTV ads sitting in the top 5 channels being prioritized.

There’s Still More to Unwrap

Navarro had a lot more insights to share in her discussion with WBR, including new strategies and tools that retailers are using to maximize Connected TV—and a lively Q&A with the audience. Click here to see it all with the full recording of It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Normal: How Retailers Are Navigating a Post-COVID Holiday.