January welcomes ‘selfish spending’: eBay research

January offers brands a fresh opportunity to tap into renewed appetite for self indulgent shopping as premium purchases are set to rise following the gifting season, according to new data from eBay Advertising.

An analysis of shopping habits in the month between the last day of gifting in 2015 – 24th December – and 24th January 2016 revealed a huge 190 per cent increase in searches for “designer” items, and a 148 per cent rise in searches for “luxury” products. And consumers in their 40s – who are likely to be buying gifts extensively for children – were the biggest indulgent spenders at this time of year.

Meanwhile, searches for “sale” and “reduced” items, which are often perceived to be the main focus of January spending, rose by 105 per cent, demonstrating that slashed prices are not the only draw for customers at this time of year.

Not only is the surge in interest for high end goods greater than for sale items, eBay data also shows that brands engaging with premium messaging have a much longer window of opportunity to capitalise on this enthusiasm. Searches for sale items peaked on 3rd January, while searches for luxury products don’t reach their pinnacle until the 24th of the month.

New year, new wheels

As the appetite for premium goods spikes in January, interest in eBay’s automotive categories – specifically luxury vehicles – undergoes a marked increase in interest.

Between the first week in January and the first week in February last year, searches in the overall Cars, Motorcycles and Vehicles categories rose by 30 per cent. However, there was particular interest in luxury car brands; searches for “Audi” rose by 58 per cent between December 31st and January 31st, while searches for “Porsche” and “Jaguar” were up by 46 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, during the same period.

Electronics expansion

While tech brands will have done big business over the Christmas period, eBay data shows the New Year is also a key time for spending in this sector; average searches in eBay’s electronics categories increased by more than 1.5 million in January last year, with much of this triggered by unexpected demographics.

Shoppers over the age of 60 were responsible for the biggest increase in searches in the category in January, driving the most significant spike in interest in video games during this period. In the same time frame, searches in the Cameras and Photography sub-category rose most amongst the 70-85 age group, serving as a reminder that brands should avoid pigeonholing shoppers with broad brush demographic stereotypes.

Rob Bassett, Head of UK and EU Multinational Advertising, eBay, said, “Understanding that January is a diverse purchasing month gives brands increased scope to engage consumers, but they must be able to distinguish between shoppers with an eye for a bargain and those who are looking to splash out on big ticket items to avoid alienating their audience. Accurate targeting is everything if brands are to make the most of the New Year opportunity.”

Premium practicalities

It wouldn’t be January without a host of resolutions, and eBay data shows that the trend for luxury sportswear may be encouraging shoppers to spend big on their functional purchases. Interest in designer sportswear brands “Moncler” and “Canada Goose” rose by 20 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in the month of January. In addition, searches for high end Omega juicers spiked by more than 30 per cent.

Pauline Robson, Director, MediaCom, adds: “This data shows us is that there are always a number of different shopper motivations at play at any one time. If brands are able to use observed behavioural insights to map people’s buying journeys, they have a huge opportunity to engage customers in a tailored, personalised way – whether they’re driven by value or luxury.”