Audience insights into festive TV viewing this holiday season (US)

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
November 02, 2021, 1:00 PM UTC
Throughout the year, Americans tune into big tentpole television moments such as the Super Bowl, award shows, and holiday-themed content. As the festive season draws near, many consumers will be huddled indoors, enjoying a stream of seasonal programming – and commercial breaks – to the benefit of brands and retailers. 
 
According to a new YouGov analysis, 65% of US consumers say they watch holiday-related content during fall and winter. With this comes a big commercial opportunity for advertisers to target ‘holiday content viewers’ with relevant messaging and through more platforms than ever. 
 
So, who tunes into holiday programming during the festive season? 
 
Television networks and SVoD platforms are getting holiday-themed content such as classic holiday films and holiday specials ready in the run-up to the 25th. Data from YouGov Profiles sheds light on who plans on tuning in are and what they say about the upcoming holiday season. 
 
Older adults contribute the most to the overall reach of seasonal programming (36% of holiday content viewers are aged 55 or older). However, holiday content viewers are more likely to be women and people between the ages of 25 and 44 when compared to the general population. These viewers are more likely to live in suburban areas and belong to a household with a gross income of less than $50,000 (44% vs. 43% of US adults; a statistically significant difference). 

 

Roughly four in five holiday content viewers plan to holiday shop this year (79%)

 

There’s a strong tie between watching seasonal programming and holiday shopping. Holiday content viewers have a higher propensity for holiday shopping (79% vs. 70% of US adults) and for shopping earlier (35% plan to start shopping prior to November vs. 30%). They are also more likely to say they will start their shopping during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period (12% vs. 9%). 
 
Holiday content viewers also indicate they will be working with bigger budgets this year, underscoring this key audience’s spending potential this festive season. One in nine say their budget is higher this year when compared to last year’s (11% vs. 9% of US adults) while roughly half say their holiday spending budget remains the same year-over-year (48%).


People who tune into seasonal programming stand out for their TV viewing habits. When it comes to the TV networks they regularly watch, holiday content viewers over-index, unsurprisingly, in their consumption of Hallmark Channel (12% vs. 9%; representing a potential market size of 20.4 million people). They are also more likely to be watching TV on networks such as Telemundo, CW, BET, Syfy, ABC, Freeform and Lifetime compared with the general population. 
 
What's more, they stand out in terms of the streaming services they use in a typical week. While Netflix (53%), YouTube (38%) and Amazon Prime Video (37%) are the most streamed platforms among holiday content viewers, that falls in line with what other Americans are also streaming. Instead, their propensity for streaming Pluto TV (11% vs. 9% of US adults), Tubi (10% vs. 8%), Disney+ (24% vs. 21%) and Peacock (13% vs. 10%) is where they differ most from the general population.

 

Within the last 30 days, three in five holiday content viewers say they feel comfortable visiting clothing stores in-person (62%)



A bevy of holiday TV content will soon draw consumers to cozy up on their couch and gather in front of their screens, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that this group is only comfortable with indoor settings. In fact, large shares of holiday content viewers say they’re comfortable visiting reopened public spaces in-person such as clothing stores (62%), restaurants (60%) and coffee shops (53%).  
 
And if last year’s data around holiday shopping is any indication, holiday content viewers will likely be out in droves this year for physical retail. Two in five holiday content viewers said they purchased gifts for the 2020 Christmas season offline at an in-store location (40% vs. 37% of US adults) – the most popular shopping method last year among this group. Of course, a large portion of holiday content viewers also shopped online using a computer (35%) or their phones (31%) last holiday season too.


Which brands stand out most among holiday content viewers? 
 
YouGov’s high-response panel and advanced research solutions allows brands and advertisers to connect data from one custom survey to the brand surveys we conduct on a daily basis. This enables us to build out rich profiles of consumers’ worlds in relation to different brands. 
 
We’ve learned so far that holiday content viewers are unique in terms of their demographic makeup, holiday shopping behaviors and media consumption so it’s not a shock that they have particular brand affinities too. 
 
Below is a short list of brands that holiday content viewers are more likely to consider purchasing than others.

CPG
  • Food brands – Snickers, Trolli, BabyRuth, Take 6, Nesquik, Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker, Tostino’s Pizza Rolls 

  • Personal care – AXE, Dove Men + Care, Schick, Secret, Right Guard, Charmin, Ecover, Lysol, Tidy Cats, Blue Buffalo 

  • Significance testing for food and personal care brands conducted between holiday content viewers who are responsible for grocery shopping vs. all grocery shoppers 

  • Beer – Corona Hard Seltzer, Victoria, Natural Light, Truly Hard Seltzer, Coors Seltzer, Bud Light Seltzer, Pacifico, Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Tecate 

  • Spirits – Skyy, Southern Comfort, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Absolut, Jack Daniel’s, Don Julio, Smirnoff, Grey Goose, Martini & Rossi 

  • Significance testing for beer and spirit brands conducted between holiday content viewers aged 21+ who consume or buy alcohol vs. all alcohol drinkers aged 21+ 

Retail:  

  • Department stores, drugs stores, pharmacies, discount stores – Walmart, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Ross, 99 Cents Only, Burlington, Sears, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Dollar Tree 

  • Grocery stores – Pathmark, Harris Teeter, Casey’s General Store, 7-Eleven, Fresh& Easy, Grocery Outlet, Strater Bros, Giant Eagle, Albertsons, A&P 

  • Significance testing for department store and grocery store brands conducted between holiday content viewers who are responsible for grocery shopping vs. all grocery shoppers 

Finance

  • Consumer banks – Cashapp, Comerica, Umpqua Bank, Bank of New York, Chime, Truist, SunTrust, First Republic Albert, Frontier Bank 

  • Insurance – Guardian, MetLife, Mass Mutual, Nationwide, Petplan, Lincoln Financial, Chubb, Navy Federal Credit Union, American Family Insurance, AIG 

  • Significance testing for consumer banking and insurance brands conducted between holiday content viewers and Nat Rep 

Tech:  

  • Communications, media & tech – Metro by T-Mobile, Google Pixel, Samsung, AT&T, Apple Siri, Android, EarthLink, Nintendo, Huawei, Ring 

  • Video game publishers – Sony Entertainment, Microsoft Studios, Bioware, Sega, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts (EA), Activision, Square Enix 

  • Significance testing communications, media, tech and video game publisher brands conducted between holiday content viewers and Nat Rep 

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of 15,302 US adults aged 18+ who answered the question, “Do you watch holiday-related content (such as Halloween or Christmas-themed movies) during fall or winter?”. Holiday content viewers are defined as those who say yes to the question (n=9,905). All interviews were conducted online in October 2021.