The peak shopping season seems to come earlier every year, with retailers shifting out Halloween merchandise and replacing it with holiday decor and promotions shortly after. This year is no exception. This “Christmas Creep” phenomenon spreads the deals out and “keeps the excitement there but keeps the chaos down” according to Kathy Grannis, Senior Director Media Relations at National Retail Federation.

While Black Friday used to be the official kickoff for U.S. holiday shopping, retailers are noticing consumer shopping appetites grow even before the Thanksgiving holiday, allowing them to shift their holiday promotions into full-gear by November 1st, a day now dubbed “Orange Saturday”.

Not only has the shopping season been extended in 2014, but retailers are investing more budget into their paid search campaigns this year than ever before.

We began to notice this trend last year, as noted in our 2013 Global Online Retail Season Shopping Report, with marketer spend ramping up sooner in anticipation of early consumer shopping, allowing them to capture as much of the market share as possible, as early as possible.

US Retail Paid Search Ad Spend 2012_2014 First

Source: Internal Kenshoo Data, 2012-2014

As you can see in the chart, retailers ramped up spending even earlier in the season this year. Compared to the 2012 and 2013 peak shopping seasons, paid search spending began to rise 9 days prior to Thanksgiving in 2014 – 4 days earlier than the years prior.

Not only has the shopping season been extended in 2014, but retailers are investing more budget into their paid search campaigns this year than ever before. When compared to 2012, paid search spend increased 40%+ on each day prior to Thanksgiving in 2014, with the largest increase generated 4 days prior to Thanksgiving (+73%).

Marketers are confident in their paid search investment this shopping season, and are diversifying ad types in order to drive increased engagement and revenue. When looking at spend within Google Shopping campaigns thus far, retailers have invested over 2X more in Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in 2014 than 2013. Per the chart below, marketers have bumped up PLA spending 12 days prior to Thanksgiving in 2014 – an upward trend we expect to see continued as the key dates approach.

US Retail Product Listing Ad Spend 2013_2014

Source: Internal Kenshoo Data, 2013-2014

As the holiday season continues to creep upward, it is important for marketers to be prepared, stay agile, and take advantage of increased consumer interest during this season. Be sure to check your search and social  programs twice before you indulge in your turkey and pumpkin pie this year — view the 12 Tips of Christmas to apply to your campaigns to make your season merry & bright!

Check back to our blog for more Kenshoo peak shopping research as the season progresses and more holiday trends unfold.