As businesses worldwide prepare for increased consumer spending this holiday season, iStock, a leading e-commerce platform providing premium content to SMBs, SMEs, creatives, and students everywhere, today revealed new data-based tips and guidance on how SMBs can maximize performance this holiday season and breakthrough with impactful, relevant messaging and visuals in marketing and advertising efforts.

Even with current economic impacts, iStock's latest VisualGPS research shows that people want to support small businesses, with 95% of people saying they shop local and 33% saying they shop at small businesses now even more than they did a year ago. Given this, business owners should move with intent to reach and speak to these customers and stand out during the cluttered holiday advertising space.

“Businesses are thinking about the holiday season earlier and earlier each year—given this spending pattern and mindset, small businesses need to consider different marketing elements when attracting customers online and in storefronts,” said Grant Farhall, iStock’s Chief Product Officer. “Our latest VisualGPS research revealed that just as hybrid continues to be the future of office work, the future of shopping and retail continues to be a mix of both, with consumers still highly enjoying personal interaction when shopping in-store. It’s important to evaluate how your businesses’ visual storytelling reflects this, as well as other current consumer behaviors, to make an impact during the holiday and end-of-year season.”

As support, iStock has pulled together actionable tips backed by real‑world data and insights to help businesses of all sizes understand what resonates with consumers and effectively move customers to action:

Create a Holiday Vibe by Mixing Classic Visuals with Contemporary Nuance: Over the years, symbols of holiday cheer (i.e. string lights, santa hats, Christmas trees, shopping, winter weather, etc.) have remained the same, however impacts from the pandemic have caused a definitive shift in consumer sentiment and priorities, especially when it comes to the holidays. Things like mental health, personal relationships, work-life balance and sustainability are important values for consumers these days and are critical to consider when appealing to your customers.

While evergreen holiday symbols still resonate, consider showcasing moments money can’t buy and showing detailed images that give a more intimate look inside people’s homes and personal lives–whether it be the food they are eating, gifts and shopping bags they are using or decorations being displayed. Look for aesthetics which feel rich, detailed and indulgent and choose images and videos that emphasize themes of togetherness.

Leverage Video to Make Every Moment Feel Treasured: An analysis of Getty Images’ and iStock’s top-selling videos shows that slower-paced videos help create a stronger connection with key audiences. Additionally, 78% of people prefer short-form videos, reels and stories for content that is meant to inspire and provide new perspectives.

Instead of businesses directly promoting a product or service in all marketing materials, take the opportunity to showcase visuals that align with people’s excitement to gather with family, friends and loved ones at the end of the year. Choose videos that show families clinking glasses before enjoying a holiday meal, children staring at holiday decorations in awe, or festive scenes of loved ones celebrating the new year, to tap another side of consumers’ psyche.

Tap Into Social Media for Holiday Entertainment and Inspiration: Social media is an effective tool to reach multiple generations at once. In fact, 56% of people of all ages say it helps them stay informed about their favorite brands. This percentage is even higher for Gen Z/Millennials (75%). In addition to that, 77% of people from all ages agree social media is an opportunity to watch content that makes them laugh or smile.

Businesses can be more effective when appealing to each generation during the holiday season, especially on social platforms. Leverage creative that shows people and personalities as opposed to illustration or animations to lean into the more entertaining, humorous and emotional side of this time of year. To appeal to the younger generations, tap into tutorials and cultural patterns that are popular online as a way to connect and relate to the current moment and people’s everyday needs.

To find relevant holiday-inspired and celebration images and videos, visit:  https://www.istockphoto.com/

For a special one-time offer, new customers can access iStock’s Premium Only Free Trial in the US, which allows users a one-month trial of iStock’s annual 10 premium subscription. This includes access to all images, illustrations and vectors, including authentic, high-quality signature imagery that can only be found on iStock.

Media Contact: Jenna AttardiJenna.Attardi@gettyimages.com

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