Lauren Kaye

This holiday season is in full swing, and that means there’s a lot at stake for marketing teams before the end of 2014. Consumers are spending more than ever before, but the same old marketing and advertising strategies won’t work.

Savvy buyers are using all the resources at their disposal to find the very best deals on products and services. More often than not, that means web research. Brands that are creating content – visual, written and streaming – to educate their clients will win sales, and leave their static competitors behind.

Here are 30 reasons why businesses should be thankful for web marketing as they look to make 2014 their strongest year yet:

For a broader perspective, check out last year’s roundup of 34 stats to be thankful for in 2013.

1. Consumers expected to spend $804.42 on holidays this year, up 5 percent from last year’s $767.27, according to the National Retail Federation.

2. More than half of consumers (56 percent) plan to buy gifts online this year, up from 51.5 percent last year (National Retail Federation).

3. One in three consumers consumers (29 percent) had already started holiday shopping by Halloween, reports Think With Google.

4. And for those who haven’t done any shopping by Halloween, more than half will start to research gifts before Thanksgiving, according to Think With Google.

5. Around 90 percent of consumers will shop online this holiday season, PunchTab reports.

6. And social is playing a larger role in shopping. Nearly half (49 percent) of consumers will make holiday purchases based on social referrals, Think With Google reports.

7. Holiday shoppers consulted 5 sources to research purchases in 2010, but that number grew to 12 by 2013. It’s likely they’ll look to even more this year, according to Think With Google.

8. Smartphones are also becoming part of the purchase journey. Around 75 percent of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones for holiday research and purchases, reports The Google Shopping Blog.

9. It’s not just B2Cs closing year-end deals – 94 percent of B2B buyers research content online for purchase decisions, according to a report from the Acquity Group.

10. As people consult more sources, they’re spending more time consuming content. In 2013, the average person spent between 12 and 15.8 hours researching popular product categories for holidays (Think With Google).

11. Many non-holiday businesses see as much as 40 percent of their total sales in the last 2 months of the year, reports Yahoo Holiday Shopping Trends.

12. To accommodate for the demand for relevant content, more than 70 percent of brands will dedicate more than half of their digital budgets to search and social this holiday season, according to Kenshoo.

13. Email should be a top marketing priority, as 44 percent of businesses expect to get anywhere from 10 to 24 percent of their holiday revenue from email marketing (MailChimp).

14. Marketing Land reports that 30 percent of Cyber Monday transactions will be on mobile devices.

15. Travel companies, this one’s for you! Six in 10  leisure travelers use search first to plan their trips – and business travelers aren’t far behind – 53 percent use search first, Brafton previously reported.

16. Financial firms are also seeing the value of creating original content. Around 38 percent say it’s easier to outsource their content marketing to overcome challenges with compliance and content creation, according to an IMN report.

17. While some financial services companies are outsourcing, 45 percent say their content marketing efforts are done on an ad-hoc basis (IMN).

18. And on the other end of the spectrum, 18 percent have a content marketing strategy in place for each channel (IMN).

19. Pay attention, auto industry! Nearly half (46 percent) of auto marketers have a formal content marketing program in place (IMN).

20. However, they might see better results if they budget better. One-quarter of auto companies say they don’t dedicate enough budget to content marketing (IMN).

21. When it comes to deciding where to invest – 60 percent of marketers say newsletters are one of the most effective formats (IMN).

22. But websites are still seen as the best vehicle for custom content. Over 75 percent of marketers say websites are the best vehicle for content marketing (IMN).

23. Tech companies – here’s a few for you! Holiday tech spending expected to increases 2.5 percent from last year $33.74 billion this holiday season, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

24. And 6 in 10 tech companies that use content marketing outsource at least some of the work to create enough content for their customers, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 Trends Report.

25. When it comes to outsourcing, 75 percent of tech companies outsource writing, 51 percent outsource graphic design (CMI).

26. Why is blog content so important? Marketers who create blog content are 13x more likely to see positive ROI from their inbound marketing, according to HubSpot

27. It also contributes to more qualified leads. Over 50 percent of marketers say their inbound leads are somewhat knowledgeable with the company before speaking with sales (HubSpot).

28. Content marketing is one of the best ways to generate leads. Around 45 percent of marketers say inbound is their primary lead gen source, above outbound efforts (22 percent), HubSpot reports.

29. Quality content is critical, as 54 percent of consumers will disconnect from a brand if they don’t get relevant, organic content from that company (CMO Council).

30. The best news? Companies are getting the buy in more to meet these requirements. It’s estimated that 35 percent plan to spend more on website content this year and 54 percnet plan to invest in video content for their marketing (CMO Council).