All Wrapped Up in Holiday Cheer

As the holidays quickly approach, cities across the United States are displaying signs of “holiday cheer” (i.e., festive participation in the season as evidenced by stocking up on holiday decorations, indulging in seasonal cookies and sweets, enjoying classic Christmas movies, and purchasing holiday-specific items). According to the National Retail Federation, spending for holiday décor this year alone will reach $6.9 billion. And of the $749.51 the average holiday shopper will spend in 2012, $100.76 will be spent on food and candy, $28.66 on greeting cards, and $51.99 on decorations, including inflatable snowmen and festive lights.

In December 2011, MaxPoint Interactive released the results of its first study ranking the US cities with the most holiday cheer. At the time, we analyzed billions of offline and online data points to score cities on a variety of holiday interests, including holiday recipes, holiday decorating, classic holiday movies, and the perfect Christmas gifts. This year, we repeated that study to see which cities have moved to the top of the list and which have lost a little bit of that holiday magic. Here’s what we found:

The Top 10 Cities with Holiday Cheer (2012)

  1. Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Eau Claire, WI
  3. Portland, ME
  4. Omaha, NE
  5. Evansville, IN
  6. Traverse City, MI
  7. Buffalo, NY
  8. Green Bay, WI
  9. Boise, ID
  10. Wilmington, NC

Sixth on last year’s list, Salt Lake City has truly embraced holiday cheer this season, moving up in the rankings to displace Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which slips to #2. Familiar cities on the list also include Green Bay, which once again comes in at #8. In addition to the old standbys, this year’s top 10 sees plenty of newcomers including Portland, Omaha, Evansville, Traverse City, Buffalo, Boise, and Wilmington.

Shopper Profile
Wondering which shoppers have the most holiday cheer? Our research revealed that consumers with holiday spirit:

  • Are 55 years of age or older
  • Are married
  • Have a household income of $100,000+
  • Own their homes

Check out the infographic at the end of this report to learn more about these shoppers, including what they’re searching for online and which festive holiday products they’re purchasing in stores.

Inside the Neighborhoods
Advertisers who are looking to capitalize on shoppers’ feelings of holiday cheer this season can get the most out of their budgets by taking a hyperlocal approach to digital advertising. By considering neighborhood-level interests, purchase data, demographics, and more, they can locate the specific neighborhoods that have the most holiday spirit. Take Salt Lake City for example. Within this top-ranking city, there are pockets of shoppers who have even more holiday cheer than their fellow city residents. You can find the cheeriest holiday shoppers in the following neighborhoods:

  • Carriage Chase
  • Hidden Valley
  • River Oaks

What This Means for Advertisers
Holiday advertising is in full gear, and shoppers everywhere are stocking up on holiday decorations, investigating new recipes, researching last-minute gift guides, and purchasing the final items on their lists. Nearly every retailer, brand, and restaurant can learn something from the list of cities with the most holiday spirit. A retailer selling baking supplies can target consumers who have expressed interest in holiday cookies with a digital campaign that drives those consumers to their nearest store location. Similarly, a brand that manufactures toys can target consumers interested in the most popular holiday gifts for toddlers using detailed demographic and interest data, rather than blanketing an entire DMA with seasonal ads that may not apply.

MaxPoint in Action
Using the data from this Interest Index, we ran several digital advertising campaigns:

Santa Diapers – We used targeted digital advertising to locate mothers of young children living in neighborhoods near select retail locations. The campaign, which aimed to generate awareness and increase in-store sales of holiday-themed diapers, resulted in a strong CTR that exceeded the industry average.

Holiday Baking – Using our hyperlocal digital advertising technology, we pinpointed the neighborhoods that have the most interest in holiday baking and that have also over-indexed for purchases of baking supplies. We ran a digital advertising campaign targeting shoppers in these neighborhoods. A third party verified that the campaign led to an increase in brand awareness.

Holiday Celebrations – For a well-known juice brand, MaxPoint implemented a digital advertising campaign promoting a seasonal, alcohol-free alternative to wine and champagne. The campaign resulted in a strong CTR that exceeded the industry average.