ShopStyle Collective is expecting influencers to drive a record number of sales during the 2020 holiday season.
General manager Lindsay Jerutis told WWD that the company expects influencer-driven sales during the holidays to more than double from last year’s level. That projection is additional to the sales lift ShopStyle Collective typically sees this time of year.
The pandemic, Jerutis said, has “accelerated the growth curve of how influencers play into online shopping and e-commerce.” WWD previously reported that ShopStyle’s affiliate business boomed in March and April, up 90 to 100 percent in year-over-year revenue. The growth was fueled by retailers’ reliance on influencers to push content as they were forced to close their doors due to shelter-in-place guidelines.
ShopStyle Collective is predicting that gift guides and shopping recommendations tailored to influencers’ audiences will lead to a higher-than-normal sales boost of 103 percent throughout the holiday season. Retailers lengthening the shopping season due to COVID-19 is expected to give influencers “a much wider range of time to continue to push product sales, gift guides and be able to lengthen the content they have to offer,” Jerutis said.
Since last year, ShopStyle Collective’s business has grown 81 percent, according to the company. Kitchen and dining sales were up 571 percent during the fall season, followed by sales of accent décor, up 368 percent; sweaters and outerwear, which increased by 161 percent; makeup, which grew 118 percent; kids’ clothes, up 60 percent, and skin care, up 25 percent.
An influencer survey conducted by the company found that 88 percent of shoppers plan to purchase gifts online versus in-store. Additionally, 90 percent of influencer audiences want to see fashion and lifestyle content, with 65 percent demanding home and beauty content.
Jerutis said the company is testing a “holiday command center” that would allow influencers to view best practices, sales highlights, commission highlights and real-time data on trending products.
Overall, affiliate commission sales are “through the roof,” Jerutis said. Already, ShopStyle Collective is up 26 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter. The company recently saw “a huge 220 percent increase” in brand spend on holiday campaigns this year versus last, when campaign spending was up 62 percent, according to Jerutis.
“In Q4, we’ve seen a huge jump in sponsored media from our retail and brand partners,” she said. “A lot of companies had a slowdown in the second quarter once COVID-19 hit. Marketing dollars were pulled. We used that time to regroup and ensure that as we’re talking to our advertising partners, we convey the importance of having meaningful connections with consumers, where influencers sit in that funnel and how important it has been for them to create moments that resonate.”
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