Instagram’s Holiday Season Guide 2021: The Latest eCommerce Trends

Updated on December 6, 2022

5 min to read

Content Writer

Published February 12, 2022

Instagram’s Holiday Season Guide 2021: The Latest eCommerce Trends
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Instagram’s holiday season guide is officially here! Consumers’ shopping habits have completely transformed since the start of the pandemic in 2020 and the 2021 holiday shopping season will be no exception. We have been isolated for almost two years and this has completely changed everyone’s buying behavior with most people turning to online shopping for food, clothes, and even toiletries. 

This rapid shift in behavior heavily impacts brands and retailers as they are forced to adapt to this new trend. Stores such as Costco, Walmart, Target, and Gap are expanding their online offerings to encourage consumers to shop on their e-commerce sites. For most retailers, this seems to be the only option, otherwise, you let your competitor take your market share as more and more people prefer online shopping than go out and line up on physical stores.

Table of contents

Holiday Season 2021 Retail Sales Forecast

According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, e-commerce sales are projected to grow between 11-15% this year, double of 2020’s 5.8% increase in holiday sales. This will likely result in sales amounting to $210-218 billion this season. Since more and more consumers are getting vaccinated and the economy is slowly going back to normal, the number of people shopping online is expected to increase dramatically this season partly due to general desperation to get a sense of normalcy after a universally stressful year.

Holiday Shopping Trends to Watch Out For

The start of October is generally the beginning of the holiday shopping season; this is why it pays to prepare early. According to Inmar Intelligence, 77% shop for holiday items from October to December, while 91% of holiday shoppers make last-minute purchases.

Additional holiday trends to look out for:

  • 49% said they consider in-store shopping more convenient, but 57% feel like they get better prices when shopping online.
  • 40% plan to spend more this year to make their holiday season a bit merrier.
  • Most shoppers plan to spend between $400 and $600 on gifts
  • The majority of shoppers plan to spend between $100 and $300 on holiday meal items like ingredients, alcoholic beverages, and hosting items. (Source: Inmar Intelligence)

Instagram’s Holiday Season Guide: Best Practices

1. Build your product catalog

Instagram Holiday Season Guide 2021 | Product Catalog Example | Social Vista
Source: @opalhousetargetmom

Your product catalog is the #1 thing you need to optimize before you start selling on Instagram. Make sure that it has the most up-to-date inventory count and product information. It is very important that all catalog fields are well filled out such as pricing, product description, weblinks, and more.

2. Add product details and content

Your product information tells your potential customers whether they should go ahead and purchase your product. Make sure that all your products have great descriptions, eye-catching product photos, at least 3 attributes such as color, size, or material, and accurate shipping information.

3. Tag products in your posts

Instagram Holiday Season Guide 2021 | Tag Products | Social Vista
Source: @balsamhill

Places where you can tag your products for exposure on Instagram:

  • Feed – by consistently adding product tags to feed posts, your products can get easily noticed by your followers. Businesses can tag up to 5 products per post to increase engagement.
  • Stories – use product stickers on your stories to make them more engaging. Show a closer look at the product, a quick review, or a how-to demo to pique their interest.
  • Reels – create short, entertaining videos on Instagram and tag up to 30 products!
  • Video – create a longer content video to showcase a product or your entire line of products.
  • Live – sell products in real-time and offer exclusive discounts to your viewers.
  • Mentions – connect with people and introduce your products in a conversational way by tagging the products in a feed post, or launch a new product by mentioning it in your Instagram bio.

(Tip: tagging products at least 5 days/month increases product page visits and purchases!)

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4. Promote your products

Ways to promote your products on Instagram:

Instagram’s Holiday Marketing Tips for Brands

1. Create Holiday Gift Guides

Instagram Holiday Season Guide 2021 | Holiday Gift Guides | Social Vista
Source: @myobessions247

Finding the perfect gift for family and friends can be stressful for some. To cater to this audience, consider posting a holiday gift guide to suggest ideas on trending products that would be perfect for their loved ones. Use Instagram carousel posts to feature relevant offerings from your product catalog, make sure to use product tags to make it easier for them to buy the products you feature in your post!

2. Seasonal Contests or Giveaways

Drive more engagement and increase visibility on Instagram by running holiday-related contests and reward your followers for their loyalty and trust. The good thing with this type of promotion is that the cost of engagement can be really cheap because the prize varies depending on your budget – it could be a product of your choice, gift cards, or cash.

3. Run Instagram Ads

With every brand competing for visibility on Instagram, ads are still ultimately the most effective way to reach your potential customers fast. Take advantage of product tags and clickable links and make sure to create a really eye-catchy image so your ad immediately stands out to everyone’s Instagram feed.

4. Launch Limited Offer Deals

Instagram Guide 2021 | Limited Offer | Social Vista

Create a sense of urgency by offering limited-time offers to certain products to motivate shoppers to purchase now. Be careful not to do it frequently though as shoppers can sense early on if the offer is really a rare deal or if they should just skip it.

5. Collaborate with Micro-Influencers

Instagram Guide 2021 | Micro Influencers | Social Vista
Source: @kryzzzie

Instagram users follow influencers who they trust for product recommendations as much as they trust their friends and family. Get in touch with niche influencers and ask them to spread the word about your seasonal offerings — send product samples to them to get them to talk about your product and create awareness. What’s great about them is that they also have access to features such as clickable links in Stories which help improve the overall customer experience.


Instagram’s holiday season guide provides key tips for brands. As we approach the 2021 holiday shopping season, it is important for brand owners and marketers to have a solid understanding of shopper behavior on Instagram and a solid plan to reach them. This season is always a combination of excitement and stress and we need to make sure that we are doing our best to be part of their solution — by making shopping simpler and more convenient for them.

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