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Cardlytics Press Release

It’s Not Too Late To Acquire New Customers This Holiday Season

Marketers: is customer acquisition on your holiday wish list this year?

Good news, there is a big opportunity to influence new customers as they rush to wrap up their holiday shopping these next few weeks. As shoppers branch out of their typical routines to find gifts for their loved ones, they are more likely to try a new retailer or category for the first time. While many marketers place emphasis on acquiring new customers, Cardlytics’ holiday purchase insights show that not all acquisition is created equal. Here are the top three things marketers need to know about customers who expand their shopping horizons during the busiest retail season:

1.  Gifting categories see the biggest benefit from adventurous holiday shoppers

In 2017, Cardlytics’ purchase insights showed that gifting categories such as children’s apparel & toys, department stores, and sporting goods saw the highest percentage of new customers for the holidays. Meanwhile, new customers for personal purchase categories (think auto services, home décor, and beauty) account for a much smaller portion of total holiday customers.

For gifting categories, customers acquired during the holidays also account for a significant portion of total customers throughout the entire year. Retailers specializing in these categories should make the most of this opportunity by targeting their marketing broadly to drive more purchases from new customers.

2.  New shoppers emerge in the eleventh hour

While there is opportunity for customer acquisition throughout the holiday season, retailers should expect the most traction later in the season as customers increasingly venture beyond their familiar go-to stores to check off the last items on their lists. Of all the holiday shopper types we analyzed, Procrastinators spent the most at new brands, averaging $500 per customer. In fact, the biggest category for customer acquisition during the holidays—children’s apparel & toys—saw its most significant spike in new shoppers the week before Christmas.

Marketers looking to attract new customers for the holidays should ramp up their marketing efforts in the final weeks of the holiday season. Appeal to last-minute shoppers by highlighting extended store hours, inventory assurance tools, and gift guides.

3.  Don’t lose sight of building loyalty

Regardless of how new holiday customers impact your retail category, it’s important to remember that the majority of holiday sales are driven by customers who already purchased from the same retailers the previous year. Last year, the majority – almost 60% – of holiday sales were from repeat customers.

Personal purchase categories that see less of an impact from new holiday customers should especially focus their marketing efforts on increasing spend and purchases among loyal customers. This will help build consistent shopping habits for success going into 2019.


At Cardlytics, we use Purchase Intelligence™ to target likely buyers (both existing and new) and prove the impact of campaigns so marketers have confidence that their budgets are driving actual incremental sales. With no complex integration or training required, we can help you reach those last-minute shoppers as soon as 10 days. Let’s work together now to win more customers and ramp up your holiday sales in these critical last few weeks. After all, there is still a lot of shopping left to be done.

Want more actionable holiday purchase insights? Download our 2018 Holiday Spend Trends Report today.

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Research & Insights