How the 2020 presidential election will impact consumer spending

With election 2020 fast approaching, brands are starting to adjust their marketing plans to prepare for ‘the change in the consumer’s mindset’ to ensure their brand remains front and center. During the presidential election, consumers are distracted. The advertising marketplace is cluttered with campaign advertisements and consumers are constantly monitoring their mobile devices to check for the latest updates. With the election being top of mind and the closer we get to election day, spending decreases which poses a challenge for marketers. Epsilon’s Abacus Cooperative database offers proprietary insights into how presidential elections affect spending before, during and after the ‘big day’. We’ve reviewed the actual spending data from the past two elections that will help guide planning for election 2020. For example, during the 2015-2016 election season, sales dropped 9% weeks prior to the election, regardless of party affiliation - Democrat, Republican and Independent.

Learn more:  How presidential elections impact consumer spending (infographic)


Think about what you can do as a marketer to ensure you’re prepared for this shift in spending. Start planning for the weeks leading up to the election. Consider having ‘election-based sales’ or ‘early holiday previews’. In your email to your customers, run a series of best-selling products and gifts to consider for buying now, before the post-election rush. And for digital advertising, highlight the ‘best sellers’, for gift giving or self-use. Consider the messaging and images that are going to best connect emotionally with your customers as they approach the holiday season. Show them that while they may be overwhelmed with the election cycle now, the joy of the holidays is just around the corner. For example, during last year’s election, a clothing design apparel retailer in which we partner with sent a memorable holiday focused campaign. Instead of featuring their fashionable clothing items and accessories, they promoted a campaign asking customers to share ‘what brings them joy’ to reflect on the ‘joy of the season’. The brand’s customers shared examples of how they’re finding joy in the current, holiday moment and customers starting socializing ‘#myholidayjoys'. It was memorable.

So for this holiday season, in addition to leveraging the usual best practices to drive sales, think outside the box and how you can share your brand’s values beyond your product and or service. And remember, timing is key for direct marketing during the election. Download our infographic to determine when your holiday related offers should reach consumers’ mailbox and inbox during the time of the election.

And, as you’re planning your campaign strategy as it relates to the messaging and timing, think quality. That is data quality. It’s reported that over a quarter of marketing campaigns fail due to poor quality data. Don’t fall in this trap. Understand how to best assess your data with the criteria we’ve outlined in our data quality e-book. Having the right data will help guide your program success. And even though your sales might decrease during the election week, rest assured that sales have historically rebounded post-election.

There’s no doubt that the presidential election 2020 is going to be different than previous elections. State and county officials are currently planning for a modified voting process to ensure consumers are able to vote in a safe manner. But marketers that are prepared for the shift in sales and are ready to infuse promotional best practices with new ways to build brand value will be the more successful in the end.  

Download our infographic to learn more.