How Seasonal Is the Home Decor Industry?

Lorna Rose Gill Posted by Lorna Rose Gill

Though seasonal trends influence many industries, Adthena data would suggest it’s smarter for online retailers in the home decor sector to bid on a large spread of keywords instead of seasonally specific ones.

 It’s not surprising that seasonal trends specifically impact the home decor industry. But the real question is: Just how strongly does the time of year influence different home design-driven marketing ideas? Let’s answer that question by examining how top brands operate their respective digital marketing campaigns to generate interest in all seasons.

Peak events like Christmas and the prime months for summer DIY would have you expect very seasonal keywords to pop up in the home decor category. However, a look at the data suggests that this isn’t the case: top competitors in this sector engage in only moderate, time-specific jostling. Nonetheless, the brands’ bidding activity in this area can tell us a great deal about how to maximise traffic in an important branch of online commerce.

How Seasonal Is Share of Voice?

Home Decor Seasonal SOV

Adthena data: Share of Voice (SOV), home decor sector

If the graph above didn’t provide the labeled demarcations, it would be hard to tell when each season begins and ends.

Known for luxury and high-quality goods, industry leader John Lewis has predictably bumped up its SOV, or its share of total online traffic, during the Christmas run-up. This much follows logic.

However, with people pinching pennies following the Christmas season, companies typically show much more restraint in their marketing spend. Yet, the graph shows John Lewis’ SOV continuing to grow in the ensuing months. The company’s SOV only started to decline in May, and, with the exception of October, never dipped below 30%.

Amazon and Marks & Spencer tussled over second place throughout that Christmas run-up, yet by January 1, Amazon had pulled away, earning 30% of SOV to M&S’s 12%. The former’s push towards the top of the SOV rankings marked an attempt to capture as much traffic as possible associated with the annual post-Christmas craze for discounted home goods—which just so happens to be Amazon’s speciality.


Source: Leasqueaky/Flickr

As a brick-and-mortar shop, Tesco gained more traction in the SOV market during the latter half of the year. This is likely due to the company’s appeal to those searching for hardware items like garden furniture and external decor that have more use in the summer months. All the same, Amazon and John Lewis maintained their dominance throughout this period.

So what gives? Well, these patterns indicate that the home and garden category is only slightly seasonal. More often than not, the top players follow the leaders of other industries in maintaining relatively high SOVs throughout the year. This way, they’re always ready to scoop up traffic for one of the many products that suit different times of year.

Share of Spend

Home decor spend trends

Adthena data, Share of Spend

Guess who spent the most? With the exception of July and September, John Lewis comes out on top, and usually by a large margin. Lapping the field is always great if you have the funds, and definitely represents the most effective way to score traffic. But what does a company do if it wants to save pennies?

Amazon provides the model of an alternative approach, as its SOV remains significantly higher than its SOS throughout most of the year. So, even though Amazon doesn’t match John Lewis’s rampant spending, the company scores more traffic for its money. The question now is: How do they achieve this ideal balance?

Keyword Spread

Home decor head to head

Adthena data: Three-way home decor head to head

The answer has a lot to do with bidding on smart keywords: ones that get good traffic, but aren’t too competitive. However, finding these keywords is easier said than done. Luckily, services such as Adthena’s competitive intelligence tools exist to help locate keywords that fit these elusive stipulations.

Looking at the differences in spending and traffic between John Lewis and Amazon on the diagram above, the large, green chunk represents a wide array of cheap, decently valuable keywords. By bidding on so many of these keywords, Amazon ranks well and punches above its spending levels without having to worry about John Lewis breathing down its neck.

All three of the brands represented in this diagram bid on the same 4,353 keywords, including “sainsburys sofas,” “dvd player asda,” “led 3d tv,” “samsung 32 inch smart tv,” “cot duvet cover asda,” “toddler bed,” “kid bed,” “trampoline,” and so on.

On the other hand, Amazon bid on an additional 11,802 keywords that neither Tesco nor John Lewis expressed interest in. These keywords include the phrases “food shopping,” “cake pans,” “fur boots,” “body warmers,” “nintendo ds blue,” “latte glasses,” and “men’s suits.” Pretty decent keywords, right? By spreading out its spending, Amazon avoids keywords that are arguably overpriced and overly competitive.

Thus, although the home decor sector might at first glance appear to be a seasonal industry, the numbers tell a different story. John Lewis shows us that big spending draws in big traffic, regardless of the season. And on the other hand, Amazon’s digital marketing strategy shows that an industry member can allocate its funds efficiently throughout the year, speaking to the home decor market’s relative year-round stability.

About the author

Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna Rose Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies. She is curious and passionate and likes to find stories in data and technology.