Consumer Spending in Springtime Offers Growth Opportunities for Advertisers
by Cat Hausler8 min read
While 2022 closed with a decrease in retail sales month-over-month, there is evidence that things might turn around this year.
People will continue to spend on travel.
Eighty percent of consumers will spend the same amount or more on gardening in 2023.
Seventy-eight percent of people in the U.S. spring clean yearly.
Spring months yield strong performance for Connected TV advertisers.
The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up (for much of the U.S. at least) and daylight saving time is coming up—spring is on its way. With the change in seasons comes opportunity for advertisers to target engaged audiences who are ready to spend. Read on to learn about consumer purchasing behaviors in the spring months (March, April and May).
Consumer Spend is on the Rise, Despite the Current State of the Economy
High inflation numbers and general economic uncertainty in 2022 led to a change in consumer behaviors, often resulting in people spending less on products and experiences that they saw as unnecessary. While 2022 closed with a decrease in retail sales month-over-month¹, there is evidence that things might turn around this year. eMarketer cited the following as indicators that consumer spend is picking up²:
- U.S. retail sales excluding automotive rose 8.8% year-over-year (YoY) in January 2023
- Bank of America credit and debit card spending per household increased 5.1% YoY in January 2023
- Analysts expect retail sales to be up 1.5% MoM in January
This should be welcome news to advertisers, particularly those who have products or services that have a clear tie-in to the spring season.
Multiple Industries are Expected to Blossom in Spring of 2023
Spring can be an overlooked season, but a variety of businesses can benefit by targeting customers specifically during this time period. Data indicates that the spring of 2023 will be especially fruitful for brands in these industries: travel, lawn and garden and household cleaning supplies.
Travel is Continuing to Takeoff
It’s been three years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (we know, we can’t believe it either), and people are ready and willing to get back out into the world. According to leading travel booking company Expedia, nearly half of consumers reported that travel is more important to them now than it was pre-pandemic³.
While the travel industry has certainly been ramping back up since 2021, this year’s Spring Break is looking better than ever for travel brands. In November and December of 2022, searches for March and April flights were up 40% compared to the same time-frame last year⁴. Seeing as most spring vacation dates land between early March and mid-April, this stat would point at people beginning to plan their trips early.
Other consumer stats travel advertisers should know³:
- More than half of consumers plan to travel by air in the next 12 months
- Younger generations are more inclined to fly—nearly 60% of Gen Zers and Millennials said that they plan to take an airplane in 2023
- Sustainability is important to travelers—90% of consumers are looking for “green” options when traveling
- Consumers would like sustainability-focused information on the following:
- Locally owned businesses/restaurants
- Transportation options with lower environmental impact
- How to best engage with local cultures and communities
- Environmentally conscious lodging/accommodations
- Destinations that support indigenous cultures and heritages
Consumers Will Help Their Gardens Grow
The warmer weather that spring brings draws people outside. And, for those interested in gardening, out into their yards. While the lawn and garden industry experienced a bit of a dip last year (likely due to inflation), it is expected to bounce back in 2023. In 2022 consumers spent just over $121B on all things lawn and garden. This year, it’s projected that the industry will make more than $129B⁵. Numbers are anticipated to rise in coming years, reaching ~$147B by 2028.
Recent research from Axiom supports these projections—80% of consumers say they will spend the same amount or more on gardening in 2023, in comparison to last year⁶.
The Majority of Americans Plan on Spring Cleaning
Springtime doesn’t just drive people outdoors, for many, it also means time to deep clean their living spaces. And, more consumers are cleaning up than you might think—the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) reported that a whopping 78% of people reported that they spring clean each year⁷.
Polling company Ipsos also revealed the following insights: “When it comes to the qualities people are looking for in choosing spring cleaning products, more than two in five Americans who report spring cleaning at any point (92% of respondents) say effectiveness (44%) is the most important quality. This is followed by products being multi-purpose (18%) and their cost (12%)⁸.”
With this in mind, it’s wise for cleaning supplies brands to consider developing ad creative and messaging specifically around these value props to best appeal to their ideal customers.
Spring Months Yield Strong Performance for Connected TV Advertisers
Since consumers are inclined to purchase from a variety of brands during the spring months (March, April and May), we wanted to learn more about how Connected TV (CTV) advertisers in particular fared during this time period. We turned to first-party data pulled from MNTN’s Performance TV platform, which uses an AI-driven optimization engine that determines bids and inventory decisions using performance goals (like return on ad spend, cost per acquisition, etc.).
For this analysis, we focused on brands that had an obvious tie-in to the season and could benefit from running campaigns leading up to and during the springtime. The industries we looked at included: Candy, Gift Baskets, Flowers, Department Stores, Kids Stores, Christian Sites, Travel, Swimwear and Recreation.
Here’s what our data revealed:
Connected TV Drove Significant Year-Over-Year Growth
Springtime might not immediately appear as effective in generating business as the winter holidays or even summer. However, Performance TV’s data shows that brands who advertised on CTV from March through May experienced significant year-over-year (YoY) performance growth. From revenue to ROAS, results were up across the board⁹.
We also analyzed network data to see which channels drove the best consumer engagement. Here are some of the top insights:
Sports Networks Produce the Strongest Return on Advertising Spend
An interesting and somewhat surprising trend that we found—sports networks drove the best return on advertising spend (ROAS) for this advertiser group. In fact, four of the top five networks for producing ROAS were athletics-focused. ESPN3 barely missed making this list, coming in at the number six spot.
This is a particularly notable finding because sports are still widely associated with linear TV. However, MNTN’s data tells a different story—while some people may still watch their favorite athletic events and news on broadcast or cable channels, many consumers are viewing via streaming services.
Low Cost Per Acquisition Results are Produced by a Variety of Networks
CBS Sports not only claimed the top spot for generating strong ROAS, it also drove the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA). While NBC Sports was the third best in terms of CPA, there is seemingly no rhyme or reason to the rest of the top networks. More interesting still are the channels that rounded out the top 10:
9. Bloomberg Television
10. Adult Swim
The sporadicness of this list should serve as a good indicator to advertisers that engaged consumers can be found on a variety of networks. Meaning, it’s in brands’ best interests to diversify their ad spend, as opposed to allocating entire budgets to one type of channel or another.
Springtime months (March, April and May) aren’t always the obvious choice for an advertising push, but data shows that brands shouldn’t overlook this time period. Consumers will be spending on a variety of products and experiences to enhance their favorite springtime hobbies and advertisers should be prepared. Even for brands that don’t have an obvious tie-in to the season, it can be beneficial to target consumers during this time—evergreen ad campaigns that run throughout the year are a great option in this instance. Connected TV has proved to be an effective channel for advertisers to get their message in front of engaged audiences. If you haven’t yet dabbled in CTV advertising, spring of 2023 might be the perfect time to start!
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1 Retail sales rise 6.0% in December, as consumers pulled back on spending (eMarketer)
2 Several signals suggest consumer spending is picking up (eMarketer)
3 Traveler Value Index 2023 (expedia group)
4 EXPEDIA DATA: SPRING BREAK EXPECTED TO BE BUSIER THAN LAST YEAR, WITH SEARCHES UP 40% AND INTERNATIONAL BEACH DESTINATIONS BACK ON THE MAP (PR Newswire)
5 Lawn & Garden (Statista)
6 2023 Gardening Survey (Axiom)
7 Three Out of Four Americans Spring Clean Yearly, Increasing Focus on Maintaining a Clean and Healthy Home (American Cleaning Institute)
8 Spring cleaners anticipate cleaning and organizing more than usual this year (Ipsos)
9 MNTN Performance TV Data, March, April and May 2021 and 2022 (MNTN)