As we are now moving into what is hopefully a post lockdown era, brands are navigating the new world of shopping and the role in-store will play as part of this, with more freedom to choose where we shop.

The return of in-store

In -store remains the top way parents of kids aged 2-12 say they get inspiration for purchase, despite restrictions over the past year, with a third of parents being influenced in this way. This is consistent across parents of younger and older children and goes to highlight the difficulties brands will have had in reaching families whilst stores were closed, and products were more hidden from view.

Searching online is the next top way in which parents get inspiration for gifts. Online search plays an important role with two thirds of parents researching online for those big-ticket items and also believing there are better deals to be found.

But that’s not all!

Understanding how parents’ are inspired and their purchase journey is also key. The kids themselves start off the purchase decision making journey, telling their parents about a new product or brand, followed then by parents seeing it instore for themselves and purchasing or returning to buy at a later date.

With kids starting off the decision making journey, its important to understand how kids find out about products?

In store shopping is important for kids and their decision making, with shops remaining to be the no.1 place they are inspired for the things they ask for, closely followed by friends and family. With 70% of kids getting what they ask for, inspiring kids in-store and creating a ‘chat worthy’ product is key.

The forbidden word….Christmas

We can’t discuss shopping without mentioning Christmas, even if we are only in May! As an industry we know that next year’s Christmas starts on Boxing Day but when do parents really put it on the agenda? In one word…NOW! Parents start to seriously consider Christmas gifts in July, with a quick build as we approach the month of September.

Parent consideration actually peaks before kids’ consideration starts to ramp up. This shows that we still need to be reaching both parents and kids, maintaining brand awareness and positive brand attributes throughout the year in readiness for being top of mind when purchase decisions start.

We know from our research that this differs by category and product price point, with big ticket items considered earlier on in the year and smaller items often later and as more spontaneous purchases – where in-store stand out and placement is key!

Boomeranging back to pre-lockdown times

Throughout Covid, we did see online become more important in the shopping journey, but in-store has returned to the forefront of shopping for parents more recently.  Whilst half of parents believe they will shop more online now, they maintain that they will shop in-store wherever possible.

With the strength of in-store set to continue, brands will need to influence purchase through on shelf standout, and the need for a product to “pop” is still a key consideration particularly for the kid’s market.

Online however has become more familiar to those that were light touchers previously and so research is likely to be done prior to in-store purchase on best deals and reviews. Therefore, it is essentially that there is synergy in the brand narrative across all channels to have greatest success.

With half of mums expecting to start thinking about Xmas a little earlier than usual this year, and the time being now, strategies need to be informed rather than predicted!

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