After the retail rush of December, the fatigue of the affiliate marketer is real. Consequently, the high-potential opportunities of January are sometimes overlooked. Contrary to popular belief, shoppers don’t pause their shopping when January rolls around, they instead shift to fulfilling a new set of needs that arrive with the new year as consistently as the turn of the calendar.
To start 2022 off strong, we’ve gathered consumer insights to help you meet shoppers where they are in January. Publishers and advertisers alike can use these insights, in conjunction with CJ’s Recruit Partners tool, to explore new partnerships in order to be ready for January and the rest of the year.
Tidying Up and New Interests
In December, the incorporation of items newly purchased or received contributes to the urge in January to tidy up one’s home life. Also at play is the annual, collective response to the start of a new year as the ideal time to focus on personal health, fitness, wellness, and growth. This translates into a rush of buying organizational goods for the home, as well as items to support new habits or hobbies.
- As the need to organize the goods in our homes, including the garage, becomes apparent, sales to retailers stocking storage and organizing goods increase. Storage boxes, bins, and shelving are widely purchased in the first week of January and shortly thereafter. Last year, Google searches for the phrase “storage containers” peaked the first week of January followed closely by “cabinet organizers” in mid-January.
- Shoppers will leverage the turn of the calendar year to purchase healthy foods, vitamins, and sports gear & apparel to support new exercise or wellness goals. Historically, affiliate clicks and sales to vitamins retailers surge in the first week of January. Also trending in January, according to Google search trends, are searches for hobby supplies such as “watercolor sets,” “crochet yarn” and “knitting needles.”
With most of us having formed a new relationship with our homes over the past 18 months, expenditures on home goods have increased. We've moved past the phase of buying new desks, office chairs, and computers and instead are refining and tweaking the place where we both live and work to make it more comfortable and efficient.
Travel Bookings and Vacation Gear
In the US there’s a growing comfort with resuming travel and taking a vacation and January is when many families and college students plan their mid-winter and spring break trips. To prepare for an upcoming trip, shoppers will be in the mindset to purchase related apparel, gear, and supplies.
- The purchase of airline and hotel reservations historically begins to increase the first week of January and continues to grow week over week into late February. International travel restrictions due to Covid-19 will keep many travelers looking for domestic vacations and that usually translates to either a domestic ski vacation or a trip to a warm destination in the deep of winter. Google searches for “Florida hotel deals” were highest in the second and fourth weeks of January, as were search terms on popular US skiing destinations (“Aspen”, “Park City,” “Vail”).
- Hand in hand with travel planning will be shoppers’ need to buy new outfits and gear. January will be the month when new skis, winter apparel, and goggles will be purchased, as well as new swimsuits and sun hats for upcoming trips. These are items that likely haven’t been refreshed in a while due to vacations being on pause for the last year and a half. There will be a renewed interest in looking for “the best [fill in the blank]” and the need to research and price compare.
Affiliate marketers have built a reputation for offering the guidance, content, and money-saving value that shoppers need when embarking on complex purchases. This January, as travel research and bookings ramp up, there’s an amazing opportunity for publishers of all types to meet shoppers’ needs for vacation itineraries, apparel, sporting goods, luggage, and more.
January is a time when many choose to assess their personal finances and resolve to improve their budgeting, spending, and credit habits. For publishers already focused on promoting personal finance, January is the start of their “peak season”, but all publishers should take note of how to tap into the zeitgeist of shoppers tidying up their financial lives.
- Filing tax returns begins in January for some, and the first burst of activity in affiliate tax programs kicks off in mid-to-late January. Tax filing and finance-focused programs in the network register week-over-week growth through late January, before pausing and then trending up again in March and mid-April.
- For many, the tax filing exercise sparks related activities—opening a new credit card, refinancing a home, or adjusting savings and retirement fund allocations. These tasks all have in common the need to research options, seek advice, and be informed—Google searches for the terms “IRA rules” and “401k planning” are at their highest point of the year in early to mid-January.
If tax and financial planning offerings aren’t featured on your site right now, you can test the waters for how this content resonates with your visitors by joining a few banking or savings programs now to prepare for January. If the results look good, you can expand this content in the year ahead and be in a stronger position in January 2023.
The new year is quickly approaching and with it comes new opportunities to reach shoppers. We hope this list helps you start the year off right!