Black Friday is (basically) here — The NRF expects record spending this holiday season, up to $966.6 billion. At the same time, gifting on a budget is important this year. Adobe reported that discounts are expected to hit record highs this season, peaking at 35% off listed price for toys, 30% for electronics, and 25% for apparel.

Taboola and Skimlinks used readership and commerce data to unveil trends about today’s shoppers, the standout retailers and categories of the season, and the entertainment events from 2023 that are likely to drive gifting this year.

Why consumers are shopping earlier than ever and the importance of savings

With inflation settling and shoppers adjusting back to their pre-pandemic bank accounts, the overall sentiment towards spending has shifted. According to Kiplinger’s Economic Forecast, July’s Prime Day results showed that shoppers are still spending, but the price of the average purchase was down. Over the past 90 days, Taboola’s readership data showed that savings are increasingly important to consumers this shopping season. Readership data shows “discounts” is up by 131%, “budget” is up by 27%, and “deals” is up by 10%.

While Prime Day has been around since 2015, it has never seen a better event than July 2023. Competing retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Costco leaned in on the hype, too, and collectively drove the most spending in one day in the U.S., according to Adobe.

Readership data supports this summer shopping surge — over the past 90 days, online interest for “holiday shopping” on the Wednesday of Prime Day was 1,157% more than on a normal Wednesday in July. Overall, more people are reading about the holidays earlier and more people are actually shopping already. Currently, interest in “Black Friday” is rising by 1,978% and “holidays” is trending by 180%.

The next big discount retailer: the rise of Temu

Most shopping lovers are aware of Temu — the newest discount giant to enter the retail game. While it only launched in 2022, it has quickly left its mark. CNN noted that it became the most downloaded app in the spring of 2023, ahead of Walmart and Amazon. Despite recent reports indicating that Shein’s revenue has increased by 40%, Taboola’s data suggests that Temu is winning online interest over Shein (2.1M pageviews vs. 991K pageviews).

Early winners: the categories and retailers to watch for the 2023 holiday season

Ahead of the holiday season, Skimlinks analyzed commerce data and pinpointed the top trending categories and retailers that have made their mark thus far in 2023. The results highlighted multi-category retailers, including Nordstrom Rack, Anthropologie, and Etsy; Christmas-specific sellers like Walmart, Wayfair, and Frontgate; registry and gifting names such as Uncommon Goods, Gourmet Gift Baskets, and Macy’s; food and drink brands like Goldbelly, ReserveBar, and Gourmet Gift Baskets; and front runners in travel accessories including Away, BEIS Travel, and Macy’s.

Taboola’s readership data affirms the popularity of these retailers — and the key stories that are driving online interest for the brands tie back to savings. For example, Anthropologie (up 1,278%) is skyrocketing in readership, notably around its discounted faux fur blanket. Additionally, Nordstrom Rack is trending (up 118%), with online interest boosted by its Top 100 Holiday Deals event from October.

Pop culture events will inspire gifts

2023 has been strong in the entertainment world — especially for concerts and movies. It’s safe to say that the biggest events of the year will inspire holiday gifts.

In fact, the Barbie movie, which was the highest-earning film of the year, is boosting Mattel sales, according to the company’s Q3 earnings report.

Here are the top 5 countries most likely to purchase gifts related to Barbie this holiday season, based on pageviews:

  1. United States: 26M
  2. United Kingdom: 9M
  3. Spain: 6.6M
  4. Brazil: 3.8M
  5. Mexico: 2.5M

The Wall Street Journal dubbed 2023, “The Year of the $1,000 Concert Ticket,” due to how competitive it was to secure some of the hottest tickets, including those for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. Not only did Taylor Swift hit the billionaire mark this fall, but she turned her successful tour into a movie and has recently been flaunting her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs football player, Travis Kelce, keeping her top-of-mind.

According to a survey by, 9% of people plan to buy a Taylor Swift-related gift this year — whether it’s tickets, merchandise, or clothing. Interestingly, Taylor Swift recently launched her 2023 “Swiftmas” store with 60+ ornaments from the 10 eras — and the overwhelming interest caused the site to crash.

Readership data reveals the top 5 “Swiftie” countries, which are bound to lean into related gifts this season:

  1. United States: 50M
  2. United Kingdom: 9.5M
  3. Mexico: 2M
  4. Spain: 1.4M
  5. Brazil: 447K

How publishers and advertisers can tap into these trends and plan for holiday success

Based on our data, we recommend that publishers resurface content on the events that drove the most interest this year — especially the Barbie movie and the Eras tour.

Our readership findings show that retail publishers should cater their stories towards budget-friendly audiences, making sure to highlight the top bargains for consumers to capitalize on this season. Mentioning the top categories and merchants from Skimlinks, including brands like Anthropologie and Nordstrom Rack, is also sure to boost article views.

We advise retailers and e-commerce shops to prioritize featuring gifts now up until Christmas Day, since consumers will continue to shop throughout December. Lastly, because our research indicates that consumers will be extremely receptive to deals — and that Temu and Shein are all the rage — it’s important to keep discounted items at the forefront of all campaigns.

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