Of all the years in recent memory, 2020 will stand out as one the most challenging and unexpected. Industries worldwide have risen to meet their new realities and adapted admirably.
But it’s not over yet. With the holiday season around the corner, retailers are feeling the pressure as they navigate one of the most demanding periods in a post-COVID world.
For this reason, we’ve put together some insightful trends and predictions from industry experts that can help you prepare your business for the shopping season and not just survive but thrive!
The shopping season will start earlier
Amazon’s decision to host Prime Day in October will kickstart the holiday shopping period sooner. According to Salesforce, With Prime Day and Cyber Week so close together (only 50 days apart), consumers will likely begin their shopping earlier to take advantage of the deals!
Radial’s consumer insights survey indicated that 39% of shoppers intend to start their holiday shopping in October and early November, while 30% say they will begin on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In response to the Black Lives Matter campaign, 21% of shoppers will shop at either black-owned businesses or brands that have expressed support for the movement. — 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends Report, Tinuiti
Holiday spending on gifts will decrease
With the pandemic still looming overhead, consumers are widely mixed in their financial concerns for the holiday season. In a report by Morning Consult, only 20% explicitly expressed worry regarding finances during this period, and 67% say they plan to reduce their general spending for their holiday shopping.According to @MorningConsult, 67% of shoppers plan to reduce their general holiday spending in 2020. How is your store preparing for this year's shopping season? #retail2020 #trends #retailtrends Click To Tweet
Furthermore, the same report states one-third of respondents intend to reduce their spending over the holidays, while almost one-quarter (24%) say they will have a budget for purchasing gifts.
E-commerce shopping will increase
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has made online shopping more popular than ever. In May of this past year, Criteo produced a study stating that 88% of surveyed US consumers planned to shop for gifts online and send them to recipients.
Following suit, Salesforce predicts that “up to 30% of global retail sales will be made through digital channels this upcoming holiday season.” It’s no question that having a strong digital presence will be critical for retailers in the coming months!
51% of US survey respondents say they plan to explore new brands during the holiday shopping season, rather than relying on their go-to brands. — Morning Consult
Digital channels are the new consumer destination
With consumers avoiding brick-and-mortar shops, many have turned to apps to browse and make purchases. Criteo states that 51% of survey respondents downloaded at least one shopping app during the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, 33% say they use one or more shopping apps multiple times a week!
It seems that having an omnichannel presence will be more advantageous than ever for retailers — and personalized customer experiences will play a big part! Salesforce predicts that 10% of mobile orders will be through social media channels, which factors in personalization and localization.
Expect more delivery delays this year
It’s been a tough year for most industries, but few were hit as hard as delivery services. And with the shopping season around the corner, Salesforce predicts that potentially 700 million gifts and parcels are at risk of not arriving in time for the holidays. That will likely be caused by traditional delivery providers exceeding capacity by 5% worldwide between Cyber Week and Boxing Day.
Holiday gatherings and travel are at a low
To no one’s surprise, 2020 will continue to see stunted travel trends throughout the holiday season. Morning Consult states that 68% of US respondents will be travelling less this holiday season, and only 53% say they expect their family gatherings to happen as planned.
Furthermore, Criteo says that 62% of study respondents are looking forward to travelling again, while 64% say they “will be wary of planes and trains for some time.”
Consumers are exploring new brands
To end on a positive note, consumers seem more open than ever to new products and brands! This is likely due to the pandemic interrupting their regular shopping habits, forcing them to consider other alternatives.
According to Criteo, 33% of respondents discovered small merchants they didn’t previously know about, and 83% intend to continue purchasing from new stores they’ve found.