Santa Bets Big On A Big Data Holiday

McCann Unveils 'The Twelve Truths of Holiday Shopping'

Latest Global Survey Reveals New Era of Predictive Gift-Giving

48% of young people say they are dropping hints on Facebook about the presents they'd like to receive this holiday season

Nov 20, 2013, 14:40 ET from McCann Erickson

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Gone are the days when making a list and checking it twice was the only way Santa could find out whether children were naughty or nice. Thanks to the rise of big data and social analytics, Santa just got a whole lot smarter.


According to McCann Truth Central's newest global consumer research study "The Truth About Holiday Shopping," the youth of today aren't taking any chances when it comes to getting the perfect gift. In fact, nearly half of young Facebook users globally (48%) admit to hinting at their ideal present on the popular social networking site.

"Ultra-customized gift ideas and a friction-free shopping experience could turn out to be the biggest benefits of big data this holiday shopping season," said Laura Simpson, Global Director, McCann Truth Central. "With a quarter of the UK likening holiday shopping to 'a military operation' and Americans twice as likely to think it's like 'having a tooth pulled out' brands have a real opportunity to show consumers the enormous benefits they can receive from sharing their personal data."

"Our study found that consumers are savvier than ever about the role technology can play during the holiday season signaling a new era of predictive gift-giving," said India Wooldridge, VP Deputy Director, McCann Truth Central "It's time to kiss bad presents goodbye."

The online global research study surveying over 10,000 people in eleven countries including the US, UK, China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, UAE, France, South Africa, Spain and India revealed the following:

"Twelve Truths About Holiday Shopping" 

  1. Santa's Getting Smarter: 48% of young people globally drop hints on Facebook about the presents they'd like to receive.
  2. Operation Christmas: Almost a quarter of the UK likened holiday shopping to 'a military operation' and Americans are twice as likely than the global average to think it is like 'having a tooth pulled out'. Whereas, emerging markets are more likely to compare holiday shopping to be like 'winning the lottery' or 'playing my favorite game'.
  3. Bring on the Elves: Almost a third of consumers globally would outsource all of their holiday shopping if they could.
  4. Retailers to the Rescue: Almost half of young consumers in the US would rather their favorite store chose their gift than their partner.
  5. Holiday traditions remain firmly in store: Globally, consumers think they'll do two thirds of their shopping in store. The remainder will mostly be spent online with only 5% of consumer spend being spent on mobiles.
  6. Black Friday just beats Cyber Monday: 51% of US consumers think they'll spend more on Black Friday just pipping the online spend to the post.
  7. Cyber 'Mom'-day:  Women (35+) in the US are predicting they'll spend more online this year than in stores on Black Friday. Whereas, almost two thirds of young men say they are more likely to spend more on Black Friday than on Cyber Monday. 
  8. Three Wise Brands: Two thirds of people think that brands could help make their holiday shopping easier
  9. Don't Come Too Early: 57% of consumers think that brands that advertise too early during the holiday season put them off shopping
  10. A world divided: The impact of the financial crisis is still felt heavily in Western Europe and the US. They all claim to be spending significantly less this year than last year on their seasonal shopping. This is in stark contrast to the emerging markets of Brazil, India, China, and Mexico who overwhelmingly believe they'll spend more this year.
  11. Show me the money: US consumers on average expect to spend $667 in total for gifts this holiday season.
  12. Watching The Waistlines: Only 46% of Americans feel that the holiday season is a time to indulge versus 70% of consumers globally

About McCann Truth Central

McCann Truth Central is McCann Erickson's global intelligence unit, with representation in more than 100 countries around the world. The group is dedicated to uncovering human truths to help brands make their mark in the world. For more information about Truth Central visit:

Methodology for The Truth About Shopping

For "Truth About Shopping," McCann Truth Central conducted interviews with over 10,200 people in the US, UK, China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, UAE, France, South Africa, Spain and India. The "Truth About Holiday Shopping" is the first phase of a large-scale consumer study aimed at exploring the dynamic new world of retail.  The full study, which will be released in 2014, will compare and contrast consumer attitudes to shopping around the world and reveal how brands can use this new data to their advantage.

About McCann Erickson

McCann Erickson ( operates 180 offices in more than 120 countries and boasts a client roster that includes preeminent global marketers and many of the world's most famous brands. The agency is a unit of McCann Worldgroup, a leading global marketing solutions network, comprised of a collaborative roster of best-in-class agencies that emphasize creativity, innovation and performance. Clients include leading global brands such as American Airlines, Coca-Cola, General Motors, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, L'Oreal, MasterCard, Maybelline, Mondelez, Nestle, Sony and Unilever.

SOURCE McCann Erickson