The holiday season is the most critical time of the year for retailers and e-commerce businesses. It’s a time when consumers spend more than any other time of year, and it’s an opportunity to increase sales and revenue. But how can companies use market research to boost sales during the holiday shopping season with so many competing retailers out there vying for customers’ attention? The answer is market research (MR). Here are some tips for using market research effectively to help you succeed during the holiday shopping season.

Boost Holiday Shopping With MR

The 2022 holiday shopping season has begun, and it’s already apparent that this year will be very different from the past few years. While many customers still prefer to shop online post-COVID, consumer spending is down due to inflation. 

Holiday gift spending is expected to drop by $30 billion as 58% of consumers cut back on their spending. Companies are also facing overstock issues, with many starting holiday deals in early fall as a result. For example, Amazon launched a second Prime Day with “Black Friday” type deals running on the 11th and 12th of October. Even with these challenges, brands can position themselves for a successful holiday shopping season with the right insights. 

Online shopping

Ad testing

Ad testing is an excellent way for companies to measure their advertising effectiveness during the holiday season. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t and can help you create better ads that are more likely to get clicks and conversions. 

Here are some ways that companies can use ad testing:

  • Gauge the effectiveness of different creatives. If you have multiple creatives that are similar in terms of the message but vary in design, you can use ad testing to see which works better with your target audience. You could also test multiple images from one creative or multiple creative elements within one image (e.g., different colors).
  • Determine which platform performs best. Companies often have multiple target audiences they want to reach with their ads, but they don’t always know where their ads will perform best. For example, if you want to reach younger women on Instagram and Facebook, you may want to test each platform separately and find out which performs work better among those groups.

Ad testing allows you to track the impact of current campaigns and channels to make confident, data-driven adjustments to strategy.

Social listening & brand sentiment 

Social listening is the process of monitoring social media chatter and identifying key themes, topics and conversations. This data can then be used to identify opportunities for brand engagement and online shopping.

The most common use case for social listening is identifying brand mentions and responding to them in real time. For example, if someone tweets about your product, you could thank them for choosing your product or mention that you have a complimentary product.

Social listening also has other uses, such as:

  • Drive engagement by sharing content from customers’ favorite brands and influencers
  • Discover what products are popular with your target audience (both offline and online)
  • Identify trends in your industry or category
  • Identify negative experiences or issues with your products or service

Brand sentiment analysis is a powerful tool for companies who want to keep up with the ever-changing digital landscape. It allows you to track how people think about your brand on social media in real time, using natural language processing technology that extracts opinions from reviews, comments, and other forms of user-generated content.

In-person shopping 

While e-commerce sales soared last year, consumers are expected to return to physical stores this year. Here are some MR tools to enhance the in-person shopping experience. 

Path to purchase

Consumers often research their purchases online and then buy in person at brick-and-mortar locations. They want to touch and feel products before making a purchase decision. Path to purchasing mapping helps brands ensure the in-person shopping experience is positive.

Path-to-purchase mapping is one strategy that can help brick-and-mortar businesses retain customers and drive in-person shopping. Path-to-purchase mapping helps retailers visualize how customers interact with products throughout their entire journey. It’s a visual representation of where people go before they buy something, how they make decisions while shopping, and where they end up after purchasing an item. 

Shopper insights allow brands to identify strengths and areas of opportunity to optimize marketing, distribution, and shopping experience.

Price testing 

Price testing is a great way for companies to get more shoppers to visit their brick-and-mortar stores. Price testing or price optimization is a process that enables companies to test different price points and determine the optimal price for their product. The goal is to find the right balance between profit and sales volume.

You could use Monadic Price Testing to test an online price against an in-store price. This would help you understand how much of an increase in sales would result from raising or lowering prices at different points in the distribution channel (e.g., online vs. offline).


Market research is a crucial first step in any business’s marketing strategy because it tells you what customers want, need, and value most. With this information in hand, you can create strategies to help you sell more products or services. Market research can also be a powerful tool for driving holiday sales. It allows you to identify the perception of your brand, design your marketing efforts for success, and optimize product pricing and the in-person shopping experience.

But that’s not all. Fuel Cycle has many tools to help companies supercharge their holiday sales in-person and online. Fuel Cycle Ignition delivers a suite of advanced methodologies for real-world intelligence.

Ignition apps like Market Share Conversion Funnel, Brand Perception, Monadic Price Testing, and Advertising-Driven Brand Lift give you practical, workable, and predictive insights, so you know exactly what’s happening and what to do next. To find out how to ignite action with Ignition, click here or request a demo to see it in action for yourself.