A wintry mix: What channels are dominating holiday advertising?

The Winter Holiday ad blitz is now on full blast, so it’s definitely time for advertisers to monitor their categories and adjust their strategic plans. Based on our findings from last year, when it comes to holiday advertising spending the largest chunk of retailers’ budgets typically goes to TV – a 44% share overall in 2015. The majority of TV expenditures last year was concentrated among a core group, with approximately two-thirds of spend for this medium from coming from the top 25 retail advertisers.

Yet while the majority of spend occurred in TV, digital grew faster, consistent with overall trends. Digital gained 4 percentage points year-over-year, increasing at the expense of TV and newspapers. However, spend for digital was still lower overall than for these traditional channels.

When we drill down to different retail segments, the media mix takes on different profiles. TV was favored by jewelry and home retailers while food and drug stores had a slant towards newspapers and radio. Apparel and consumer electronics were skewed towards digital.

Overall, the budget allocation for department stores was very close to the retail average but among the top-spending stores, allocations had a lot of variance.

Walmart spent far more on TV, while Macy’s opted to lean on newspapers. Meanwhile, Target and Kohl’s had higher than average share of spend allocated to digital but they each took a different approach. Target’s digital budget was focused on video, while Kohl’s put more stock in desktop display.

The 2016 Winter Holiday season is now in full swing. How will the media mix landscape shape up this season? We’ll be watching, so make sure to keep visiting KantarMedia.com for insights on this year’s ad trends for this must-win period.

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