News • 04.09.2020

Labor Day ads up, consumers’ planned spend down

Half of consumers plan to purchase items for Labor Day

Numerator has launched a consumer sentiment survey to understand how people plan to celebrate, shop, and spend for Labor Day. Overall, almost two-thirds of consumers expect to celebrate and shop for Labor Day differently this year and 49% expect to spend less. Numerator polled 2,000 people with verified holiday purchases in 2019 to understand how consumer behavior could be expected to change in a time of social distancing, travel restrictions, job losses, and financial hardship.

An American flag and tools lying on a wooden table with blocks spelling Happy...
Source: PantherMedia / AndrewLozovyi

A consumer sentiment survey of 2,000 verified shoppers shows the following key findings among consumers who plan to celebrate Labor Day: 

  • 62% expect to celebrate Labor Day differently this year.
  • 65% expect to shop differently than in years past. 
  • Just over half (54%) of consumers plan to purchase items for Labor Day, but 1 in 3 (34%) aren't planning to make any Labor Day purchases this year.
  • Nearly half (49%) of consumers expect to spend less on the Labor Day holiday – with just 6% expecting to spend more this year. 

Of those who expect to spend less, top reasons were:

  • 66% celebrating on a smaller scale
  • 39% more budget conscious
  • 29% avoiding in-store shopping
  • 21% due to a change in job situation
  • 21% having already tapped into savings during the pandemic

Advertisements containing Labor Day messaging

While consumers are pulling back, total Labor Day ad count is up in 2020, although top ad spending categories account for less of the total. In an analysis of Labor Day ad count, the number of advertisements containing Labor Day messaging is up 33% from this time in 2019 (comparing the time frame up until 2 weeks prior to Labor Day each year). Of note, the Furniture category takes the lead in Labor Day ad count (from Retail in 2019), increasing its share of ad count to 39.7% as consumers continue home upgrades while staying at home.

Additional findings include: 

  • Furniture (39.7% of Labor Day ads, up from 34.9% in 2019)
  • Retail (27.9%, down from 35.8% in 2019)
  • Auto: Retail & Events (10.4%, down from 12.4% in 2019)
  • Household Needs: Bedding & Bath (5.1%, up from 3.3% in 2019)
  • Travel: Tourism (2.9% -- new to top 5 in 2020)

Brands actively using Labor Day messages in 2020 span more categories in 2020. Brands that may not typically have advertised for Labor Day (e.g. household brands) are advertising this year as people plan to spend Labor Day at home or in the area.

Source: Numerator

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