As the temperature drops and storefronts transform into festive displays, businesses worldwide are strategically positioning themselves for the holiday advertising frenzy—an integral component of the annual retail landscape. In this exploration of holiday advertising, we delve into the statistical landscape that underscores the significance of this season in the marketing realm.

Statistically, the holiday season accounts for a substantial portion of annual retail sales. According to recent data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer is projected to spend a significant percentage more during the holiday months compared to other times of the year. This surge in spending underscores the critical importance for businesses to optimize their advertising strategies during this period.

As brands and agencies alike tailor their advertising campaigns this holiday season, it’s essential to recognize the unique preferences of each target audience. At Refuel Agency, we’ve been specializing in reaching niche audiences for over three decades – so we’re here to help guide you towards holiday marketing success for military, Gen Z, and multicultural audiences. 

Ready to unpack data-driven insights for advertising to these target audiences during the holidays? Let’s get started.

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Holiday Advertising to Gen Z

As we buckle to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of holiday advertising, one demographic stands out for its unique characteristics and digital fluency — Generation Z. Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Gen Z brings with it a distinctive set of preferences and behaviors that brands and agencies must understand to effectively capture their attention during the festive season.

Insights from Refuel Agency’s Gen Z Explorer Series show that total teen income surpasses $95.7B+ annually – and if you include parents? That number jumps to $265.6B+ in total buying power. Gen Z is a force to be reckoned with, and they’re shaping the world in their image. Influencing this key demographic during the holiday marketing season is a power play.

The following Gen Z holiday marketing insights will help you design a strategy that will cut through the noise. Here’s how to reach Gen Z this holiday season.

1. Gen Z is Digitally Dominant

Gen Z’s affinity for digital platforms is unparalleled, making social media the epicenter of their online experience. During the holiday season, capitalize on this by strategically deploying your advertising on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. Short-form videos, engaging challenges, and visually appealing content are key components for successful campaigns aimed at this tech-savvy generation.

Statistics reveal that Gen Z spends an average of 3.2 hours per day on social media platforms during the holiday season, making it a prime channel for targeted advertising (Source: Pew Research Center).

2. Gen Z is Purpose-Driven

Gen Z is known for its social consciousness and commitment to meaningful causes. Align your holiday marketing campaigns with values that resonate with this demographic. Highlight sustainable practices, ethical sourcing, or social responsibility initiatives. This not only captures their attention but also fosters a sense of connection between your brand and their values.

Research from Cone Communications indicates that 70% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to engage with brands that actively support social and environmental causes during the holidays.

3. Gen Z is Interactive and Inclusive

Gen Z craves interactivity and inclusivity in their online experiences. Create campaigns that encourage participation, user-generated content, and real-time engagement. Inclusivity should extend to diverse representation in your marketing materials, reflecting the multicultural and varied identities within this generation.

Studies by Kantar Millward Brown show that 82% of Gen Z consumers find interactive content more appealing during the holiday season, leading to increased brand engagement.

4. Gen Z Expects Seamless Integration of E-Commerce

Given Gen Z’s comfort with online shopping, ensure a seamless e-commerce experience. Optimize your website and mobile platforms for easy navigation and quick transactions. Leverage features like augmented reality (AR) to provide virtual try-ons or product previews, enhancing the online shopping experience.

E-commerce statistics from Shopify highlight that 67% of Gen Z consumers prefer online shopping during the holiday season, with convenience and personalized experiences being key decision factors.

Marketing to Generation Z during the holidays demands a thoughtful blend of digital expertise, purpose-driven content, interactivity, and seamless online experiences. By understanding and incorporating these strategies, businesses can tap into the immense potential of this influential demographic and create holiday campaigns that resonate long after the season fades away.

Read next: Your Black Friday + Cyber Monday Gen Z Marketing Game Plan

Holiday Advertising to Multicultural Audiences

Next up on the list is the booming multicultural audience in the United States. The multicultural population in the United States is growing at a rapid pace. This population segment currently comprises 37% of the total US population. By targeting multicultural audiences, brands can tap into a significant and expanding market. Ignoring this diverse demographic means missing out on a substantial customer base with immense purchasing power. Here are some key demographics:

  • Total Multicultural Population: 121,880,656 (37% of the US population)
  • Hispanic Population: 62,529,064 (19% of the US population)
  • Black/African American Population: 40,194,304 (12% of the US population)
  • Black population has grown by 6.1% from 2010 to 2020 and the Hispanic population has increased 17%.
  • Asian Population: 19,157,288 (6% of the US population)

(Source: Census, 2021 ACS data)

Multicultural audiences warrant careful consideration in holiday advertising strategies. Statistics show that culturally relevant and inclusive campaigns not only resonate more profoundly but also contribute to brand loyalty among diverse consumer segments.

Below are our top tips for advertising to multicultural audiences this holiday season.

Read next: 8 Examples of Brands Who Got Multicultural Marketing Right

1. With Multicultural Audiences, Representation Matters

Multicultural audiences appreciate seeing themselves reflected in advertising materials. Ensure your campaigns feature diverse models, influencers, and narratives that authentically represent the varied backgrounds within your target audience. This not only fosters a sense of inclusion but also strengthens the emotional connection between your brand and consumers.

Studies by Nielsen report that advertisements showcasing diverse casts are 1.7 times more likely to be memorable to multicultural audiences.

2. Remember Cultural Awareness 

Understanding and respecting cultural nuances is paramount. Be mindful of religious observances, traditional symbols, and the significance of specific holidays within different cultures. Tailor your messaging to acknowledge and celebrate these elements, avoiding stereotypes and clichés.

Research from Accenture reveals that 83% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service when the advertising is culturally relevant.

3. Language Matters: Understand Multilingual Messaging

Embrace linguistic diversity by incorporating multilingual elements into your advertising. This may include bilingual ad copy, subtitles, or voiceovers in languages spoken by your target multicultural audience. By speaking their language, you demonstrate a genuine effort to connect on a personal level.

According to CSA Research, 75% of consumers prefer to buy products in their native language, highlighting the importance of linguistic inclusivity.

4. Celebrate Cultural Festivities

Acknowledge and celebrate the diverse holidays and cultural festivities within your target audience. Tailor promotions, discounts, and special offers to align with these celebrations. This not only demonstrates cultural awareness but also positions your brand as one that values and embraces diversity.

Data from ThinkNow Research suggests that 63% of multicultural consumers are more likely to engage with brands that incorporate their cultural traditions into marketing campaigns.

Read next: Marketing to Multicultural Consumers this Black Friday? Here’s How

5. Engage With the Multicultural Community

Connect with multicultural communities beyond advertising by actively participating in local events and initiatives. Sponsorship of cultural festivals, community gatherings, or charitable events can further strengthen your brand’s ties with diverse audiences.

Community engagement statistics show that 78% of consumers believe businesses should support community events and organizations, enhancing brand perception.

Holiday advertising to multicultural audiences requires a thoughtful and culturally sensitive approach. By prioritizing representation, cultural awareness, multilingual communication, and community engagement, your brand can create campaigns that resonate deeply with diverse consumers, fostering long-term loyalty and goodwill. 

Read next: 4 Ways to Make Your Year-End Holiday Advertising Campaigns Inclusive

Holiday Advertising to the Military

Last but not least? It’s the ever-powerful military consumer audience – a thriving audience comprising military personnel and their families. Crafting a holiday advertising strategy tailored to this unique audience requires a blend of patriotism, appreciation, and understanding. Here are strategic insights to ensure your brand resonates with and honors military audiences during this festive time.

Recognizing and appreciating military audiences during the holiday season holds strategic merit. Statistically, offering exclusive military discounts has proven to be a successful approach, enhancing brand affinity and fostering a sense of appreciation for service members and their families.

Based on our expertise and insights, here are our top tips for holiday marketing to the military audience.

1. Offer Exclusive Military Discounts

Express gratitude by offering exclusive discounts or promotions for military members. Clearly communicate these offers in your advertising materials, website, and social media channels. Providing tangible benefits recognizes the sacrifices made by military families and fosters a sense of appreciation.

Statistics from a survey by the National Retail Federation show that 70% of military families are more likely to shop at businesses offering military discounts during the holiday season.

2. Incorporate Patriotic Imagery and Symbolism

Incorporate symbols of patriotism and military service in your visuals. American flags, military insignia, and imagery that reflects the spirit of service can evoke a strong emotional connection with military audiences. This not only acknowledges their dedication but also aligns your brand with values they hold dear.

Research by AdWeek indicates that advertisements featuring patriotic imagery experienced a 7% increase in positive viewer sentiment among military audiences.

3. Highlight Military Family Stories

Share authentic stories of military families during the holiday season. Whether through video testimonials, blog posts, or social media features, showcasing the experiences, challenges, and celebrations of military families creates a personal connection. This storytelling approach fosters empathy and strengthens the emotional bond between your brand and this audience.

A study by Forbes found that 82% of consumers consider authenticity a key factor in their purchasing decisions, emphasizing the importance of genuine storytelling.

4. Support Military Charities and VSOs

Demonstrate your commitment to the military community by supporting relevant charities or organizations. Incorporate information about these initiatives in your holiday advertising materials, showcasing your brand’s dedication to making a positive impact beyond profits.

According to a survey by Edelman, 60% of consumers believe businesses have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and supporting charitable causes contributes to this perception.

5. Express Gratitude

Take the time to express gratitude directly in your advertising messaging. Simple, heartfelt messages of thanks and acknowledgment go a long way in resonating with military audiences. Use your platforms to express appreciation for their service and sacrifices.

Studies show that 84% of military personnel and their families appreciate brands that express gratitude for their service, influencing their purchasing decisions.

Holiday advertising to military audiences requires a thoughtful and respectful approach. By incorporating exclusive discounts, patriotic imagery, authentic storytelling, support for military charities, and expressions of gratitude, your brand can create campaigns that resonate with this community on a profound level. 

Read next: Holiday Discounts for the Military Audience

Holiday Cause Marketing Strategy

One thing that all of these audiences have in common is their affinity for cause marketing. Gen Z audiences, multicultural audiences, and military audiences all value brands who take a conscious stand for something bigger than themselves.

And as the holiday season unfolds, it brings with it an opportunity for brands and agencies to go beyond traditional advertising and make a meaningful impact in their communities and beyond. Holiday cause advertising, also known as cause marketing, not only aligns your brand with social responsibility but also creates a positive ripple effect that resonates with consumers. 

Here’s a closer look at the strategies to navigate the power of holiday cause advertising.

1. Choose Causes Aligned with Values

Selecting causes that align with your brand’s values and resonate with your target audience is crucial. Whether it’s supporting local charities, environmental sustainability, or social justice initiatives, the cause should authentically reflect your brand’s commitment to making a positive difference.

According to a Cone Communications study, 87% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product that supports a cause they care about.

Read next: What Brands Must Research Before Supporting a Charity

2. Communicate Transparently

Clearly communicate how your brand is contributing to the chosen cause. Whether it’s a percentage of sales, a donation matching program, or a specific campaign tied to the cause, transparency builds trust with consumers. Use your advertising platforms to share the impact your brand is making and how consumers can actively participate.

Research by DoSomething Strategic reveals that 70% of young consumers believe transparency about social and environmental efforts is more important than ever.

3. Use Storytelling to Make an Impact

Tell compelling stories that highlight the real-world impact of your cause marketing initiatives. Whether through video content, blog posts, or social media updates, storytelling adds a human element to your campaign, evoking emotions and fostering a deeper connection between your brand and consumers.

A Nielsen study found that 55% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

Read next: How Brands Can Give Back to Their Customers This Giving Tuesday

4. Engage Your Employees

Involve your employees in cause marketing efforts. Showcase their participation in volunteer activities, fundraising events, or other initiatives tied to the chosen cause. Employee engagement not only adds authenticity to your campaign but also strengthens the sense of community within your organization.

A report by Great Place to Work indicates that companies with strong corporate social responsibility and employee engagement programs outperform their competitors in revenue growth.

5. Collaborate with Nonprofits:

Forge partnerships with reputable nonprofits that align with your cause. Collaborating with established organizations enhances the credibility of your cause marketing efforts. Leverage the reach and expertise of these nonprofits to amplify the impact of your campaign.

*According to a study by Nielsen, 66% of consumers prefer to buy products from brands that are committed to positive social and environmental impact through partnerships with nonprofits.*

Holiday cause advertising offers a powerful avenue for brands to contribute to positive change while building meaningful connections with consumers. 

Read next: Four Tips for a Holiday Cause Marketing Campaign That Stands Out

A successful holiday advertising strategy requires a deep understanding of your diverse target audiences. By tailoring your approach to Gen Z’s digital preferences, celebrating the richness of multicultural backgrounds, honoring the service of military personnel, and contributing to meaningful causes, your brand can create a holiday campaign that resonates on a personal level and leaves a lasting positive impression. This holiday season, let authenticity and inclusivity guide your marketing efforts.

Christina O'Toole

Christina is a data-driven, full stack marketer with over 20 years success leading marketing in technology, higher ed and publishing industries. Christina has developed hundreds of marketing campaigns and built all facets of programs including lifecycle journeys, creative direction and lead generation. She now heads corporate marketing at Refuel Agency.