Google wants you to do your holiday shopping on YouTube this year
Holiday shopping is no longer the multi-hour slog to the high street or shopping mall — smartphones have transformed the way we shop for Christmas gifts.
Research published Tuesday by Google shows that shopping "moments" are beginning to replace shopping "marathons" this holiday season, as consumers quickly buy gifts on their phones in dozens of spare minutes in the build-up to Christmas.
And with mobile influencing more purchase decisions than before, this year Google is promoting YouTube as a shopping destination for holiday gifting.
Last year, Google found that there were fewer pronounced spikes in searches for gifts over traditional shopping days like Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Instead, there was a steady, building interest in gifts and present searches over the entire period.
Users are spending 7% less time in each shopping session, according to Google Analytics data, but mobile's share of purchases has gone up 64% over the past year. Some 30% of all online purchases are made using a smartphone, and shopping-related searches have grown more than 120% year-on-year, approaching desktop search numbers.
The most popular shopping day on mobile? Sunday.
Google is making a big push for holiday shopping on YouTube
Google also found, via an Ipsos MediaCT survey, that consumers are increasingly turning to YouTube to help them shop — watching video reviews and unboxing videos.
In the US so far this year, YouTube users have totaled 1.1 billion views of unboxing videos alone. The survey found that around a quarter of shoppers (26%) say video is their "go-to source for gift ideas," while almost a third (22%) said they plan to use online video more this year for holiday inspiration.
So it's with all this in mind that Google is really pushing YouTube as a holiday shopping destination this year.
Earlier this month, YouTube launched its first of many "Awesome Stuff Weeks" in which it invites popular YouTube stars to create videos showcasing products users can buy. They utilize YouTube's recently expanded "TrueView for shopping" ads, which allow viewers to click on product listings overlayed on YouTube videos to buy the item.
The first Awesome Stuff Week focused on fashion and included contributions from YouTube stars including Gigi Gorgeous, Brad Hall, Jim Chapman (below,) Notorious K.I.A., and SimplyNessa15.
YouTube says it is planning more Awesome Stuff Weeks, with the next set of videos themed around gadgets, then another specifically on holiday gifts.
Ultimately the aim is to get advertisers to think about YouTube when they are planning their holiday campaigns as much as they might think about Google Search marketing. It wants those search dollars too — hence the research on mobile searches — but Google is also encouraging marketers to think about YouTube as a place to advertise to shoppers looking to get inspiration for their next shop.
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