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Understanding the 4 Types of Holiday Shoppers for Local Business

There’s nothing quite like the holiday shopping season. It’s both magical and maddening for consumers and business owners alike.

Holiday shoppers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalities. Some are old-school and only shop at local shops, some do all of their shopping online, and some do both. Some shop late, some shop early, and some shop all of the time.

The 4 Types of Holiday Shoppers

1. Evergreen Shoppers
People who shop throughout the holiday season.

2. Early Bird Shoppers
People who shop early in or prior to the holiday season.

3. Deal Seekers
People who perform the majority of their holiday shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, or Cyber Monday.

4. Last-Minute Shoppers
People who jump on the back-end of the shopping season and wait until the last minute to shop.


The 4 Types of Holiday Shoppers and their shopping profiles and dates when they shop - Online Ownership


While a lot of businesses put all of their eggs in one basket, such as Black Friday, and only focus on running a singular Christmas campaign, the spend is spread out pretty evenly amongst these four types of shoppers.

Needless to say, as a business owner, you shouldn’t isolate a single shopper segment. The widest net catches the most fish, so you need to begin thinking about holiday shoppers according to their type: Evergreen, Early Bird, Deal Seeker, or Last-Minute.

How do I win over each type of shopper?

You target them, but you have to do it in a strategic way.

There’s a strategy to approaching each holiday shopper segment, and as a marketer or local business owner, you need to understand the types of holiday shopper and their holiday shopping profile.


Evergreen Shoppers
A slow and steady pace wins the race.

Quick Stats:

  • 38% of all holiday shoppers are Evergreen shoppers
  • More likely to be Baby Boomers and Gen Xer
  • Spend 53% of their time shopping online and 47% shopping in-store
  • 51% research before they buy
  • 43% visit several sites when shopping online
  • 82% use a search engine for shopping
  • 57% use a mobile device to shop or browse
  • 38% use a mobile device in-store
  • 55% of purchases are made in-store
  • 45% of purchases are made online
  • 46% of purchases are made via mobile device


Evergreen shoppers are the pulse of the holiday season. They may purchase a few gifts early in October, venture out for a special gift on Black Friday, and perhaps grab a few last-minute presents the week of the holiday. Regardless of their shopping methods, they’re browsing and purchasing throughout the holidays and accounting for a substantial amount of the seasonal sales pie.

A whopping 38 percent of holiday shoppers fall into the Evergreen category, and the average transaction size for these steady shoppers is well over $50, which is pretty substantial, especially when you consider the number of times they shop throughout the season. They also account for over 40 percent of the entire holiday spend, making them by far the biggest spenders of all four shopper groups.

From a business and marketing standpoint, it’s important to speak to them throughout the duration of the holiday period. Since Evergreen shoppers are not shopping at any specific time, keeping a steady drip of marketing in front of their eyes is critical. By doing so, your marketing will be in front of them and directing them in the right direction whenever they do decide to shop.

The Evergreen shopper segment is not only the largest segment of shoppers, but it keeps growing as well. This is in large part due to the prevalence of online shopping. According to Lauren Bitar, RetailNext’s director of retail consulting:

“E-commerce has really empowered the steady shopper and that seasonal creep where people are buying things earlier and earlier. That’s because the value is really important to them rather than the feeling of ‘it’s December, this is when I go Christmas shopping.'”

The importance of value for Evergreen shoppers is further evidenced in a recent Euclid study, which found that over 70 percent of holiday shoppers were looking forward to Cyber Monday more than any other major holiday sale.

Plenty of other data also suggests the importance of online research and shopping. For instance, Evergreen shoppers spend 53 percent of their shopping time online, and 51 percent of them research online prior to making a purchase. Furthermore, 43 percent visit several sites and a staggering 82 percent use a search engine for shopping.

When targeting Evergreen shoppers, one of the most important things for a local business owner or marketer to do is reach out early in the holiday season. It’s also important to do so across multiple channels, such as website, social channels, Google Ads and Google Posts for local businesses.


Early Bird Shoppers
The early bird gets the Christmas deals.

Quick Stats:

  • 25% of all holiday shoppers are Early Bird shoppers
  • More likely to be Baby Boomers
  • Spend 55% of their time shopping online and 45% shopping in-store
  • 49% research before they buy
  • 42% visit several sites when shopping online
  • 78% use a search engine for shopping
  • 53% use a mobile device to shop or browse
  • 38% use a mobile device in-store
  • 53% of purchases are made in-store
  • 47% of purchases are made online
  • 49% of purchases are made via mobile device

There always seems to be one member of the family who finishes their holiday shopping months in advance, and with 25 percent of holiday shoppers falling into the Early Bird category, the numbers clearly back this up.

Whether it’s because of their superior organisation skills or their disdain for holiday crowds, the Early Bird segment is singularly focused on shopping efficiently and getting in and out as soon as possible.

Although this shopping segment isn’t a large one, it makes up over 10 percent of the holiday spend. They also have a relatively large transaction size of about £67, so it pays to get a jump start on your online holiday marketing efforts.

Business owners who want to win this crowd over should start planning in the spring to devise a marketing strategy aimed at their shopping habits and have their promotions in place sooner rather than later.

One way to appeal to Early Birds is to play up the scarcity angle. It’s a proven way to pull them out of their nests and persuade them to buy whatever it is you have to sell now, not three months from now.

Some brands, like Sephora, do this well. Each year, they begin their holiday deals earlier and earlier only to eventually sell out. Emphasising scarcity, especially with holiday-specific products, has proven time and time again to be a highly effective marketing technique.

That being said, it’s equally important for businesses to stress how convenient it is to shop with them. In one study, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they were hesitant to make a purchase, but some aspect of the shopping experience persuaded them to buy.

As a testament to the growing power of the convenience of e-commerce, 64 percent said free shipping was the reason for their purchase. Surprisingly, sales and promotions were the runner-ups. Needless to say, online retailers do well when taking the “convenience” approach.

However, Early Bird shoppers are also a great demographic for loyalty programs and pre-Black Friday promotions. In 2016, forty percent of holiday spend took place during the first four weeks of the season.

To reach your sales goals, you can’t just market around Black Friday. You need to do it well before, and as you’ll see, long afterwards as well.


Deal Seekers
They research and wait for the best price.

Quick Stats:

  • Only 18% of all holiday shoppers are deal seekers
  • More likely to be Millennial’s, Gen Xers, and Parents
  • Spend 55% of their time shopping online and 45% shopping in-store
  • 62% research before they buy
  • 57% visit several sites when shopping online
  • 89% use a search engine for shopping
  • 72% use a mobile device to shop or browse
  • 52% use a mobile device in-store
  • 47% of purchases are made in-store
  • 53% of purchases are made online
  • 55% of purchases are made via mobile device
  • 66% shop for themselves

Despite the majority of holiday shoppers falling into the Evergreen and Early Bird segments, Black Friday still matters. Many shoppers still find themselves waiting for the sales retailers serve up on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and every other post-Thanksgiving deal day. However, Black Friday seems to be losing its significance.

According to a report from Cardlytics, “Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases are decreasing year over year due to two factors: an increase in last-minute holiday shoppers and the introduction of earlier November deals.”

As the Early Birds also know, many big-box retailers begin promoting pre-Black Friday holiday deals right after Halloween. Nonetheless, the deal-seeking Black Friday segment is still an important market to target, and the retailers who do have a number of avenues to pursue.

Price and value are obvious selling points to drive home with deal seekers, but tapping into their social habits can be just as powerful. Why? Because Black Friday is a social event.

Very few people go shopping on Black Friday by themselves, so your marketing should support the social aspect of the day. Deals that are highly shareable will promote brand awareness and drive more traffic.

That being said, when push comes to shove, Deal Seekers are all about the sales. They’re all about the exclusive deals, deep discounts, and price.

If they’re on your email list and you blast a ‘60 percent off’ message to their inbox, more often than not they’re going to bite. However, Deal Seekers tend to sign up to more things and receive more emails than other holiday shopper segments, so distinguishing yourself is key.


Last-Minute Shoppers
Better late than never.

Quick Stats:

  • 19% of all holiday shoppers are Last-Minute shoppers
  • More likely to be Millennial’s, Gen Xers, and Parents
  • Spend 54% of their time shopping online and 46% shopping in-store
  • 48% research before they buy
  • 43% visit several sites when shopping online
  • 83% use a search engine for shopping
  • 65% use a mobile device to shop or browse
  • 43% use a mobile device in-store
  • 66% of purchases are made in-store
  • 34% of purchases are made online
  • 51% of purchases are made via mobile device

Holiday shopping and marketing doesn’t quit cold turkey when Black Friday and the post-Thanksgiving sales week winds down. When the long lines end and the crowds go home, there are still plenty of last-minute shoppers out there to market to.

In fact, 19 percent of holiday shoppers fall into the Last-Minute Shopper category, and a good portion of them don’t begin their shopping until the final week before Christmas. So, retailers both on and offline should adjust their websites, apps, and in-store marketing to take on this procrastinating crowd.

Different things resonate with shoppers pre- and post-Black Friday. While the best marketing strategies leading up to Black Friday often emphasise exclusivity and savings, this should change when the event is over.

When reaching out to Last-Minute shoppers, retailers should place a marketing emphasis on convenience. From expedited shipping for online retailers to extended in-store hours, when it comes to fourth quarter shopping, it should be all about convenience and availability.

With Prime, Amazon has changed the online retail game. Shoppers expect a quick and easy ordering process and two- or three-day shipping. In order to compete in the space, a clear delivery strategy is a must.

All that being said, there are other pieces to the last-minute shopping puzzle. Nearly 90 percent of people plan to shop online this holiday season, and over 15 percent of all online purchases this season will take place the week before Christmas.

With more and more last-minute shoppers opting to click the “Buy” button and receive their gifts in a few days rather than wait in a long in-store checkout line, it’s more important than ever to keep shoppers informed as the holiday season winds down. Sending updated shipping and sales offers via email is a must. So is targeted advertising and having sales and promotions banners on your website.

Tip: include a countdown timer in your digital marketing materials.

Of course, SEO is always important to get people through your digital door, so a sound local SEO strategy targeting Evergreen, Early Bird, Deal Seeker, and Last-Minute shoppers is critical as well.

The four types of holiday shoppers and their spending patterns - Online Ownership


There’s no one size fits all approach to holiday marketing. With holiday shoppers falling into one of four distinct categories and consumer behaviours, consumer intent and developing targeted marketing strategies for each is crucial for maximising sales opportunities.