Now that our most recent holiday shopping season is over, we saw that shoppers worldwide are finding new ways to purchase gifts for loved ones. While in-person purchasing remains a popular option, many consumers have chosen to complete their shopping online, causing retailers to adapt to the changing landscape.
Trends to Consider
The 2020 shopping season was unlike any other, and many of the trends established during this time are here to stay for holiday shoppers. With 73% of retail executives expecting a big shopping season this year, staying on top of these holiday shopping trends is the best way to ensure success.
Online Shopping Is More Important Than Ever
E-commerce sales saw an increase in 2020 and accounted for 19% of all retail sales. While most retail stores had reopened with added safety measures by the end of 2020, many consumers still chose to complete all or most of their holiday shopping online. Online retail sales reached their highest point yet in December 2020, leading many retailers to wonder if this trend would continue.
The answer came quickly in July 2021, as e-commerce sales rose higher than pre-pandemic levels. As COVID-19 cases force local economies to close and reopen, many shoppers may choose to complete their shopping online again this holiday season. Many retail executives predict online sales to grow by 11 to 15% this holiday season, with consumers spending as much as $226 billion on online shopping alone.
In local economies with a stable COVID-19 situation, consumers may do a mix of online and in-store shopping. Curbside pickup and mobile shopping continue to be essential for many shoppers after a 208% year over year growth in 2020.
Shopping Early Is Key
The primary concern for many consumers is whether their gift will arrive on time. Out-of-stock products saw a 172% surge from pre-pandemic levels, with many shoppers unable to find the products they need when they need them. Various supply chain issues throughout 2021 have affected shoppers, causing 64% of consumers to worry about not receiving inventory on time.
Due to over 75% of shoppers feeling concerned about physical and online stores being out of stock, holiday shopping may begin early this year. 68% of shoppers plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving to avoid crowds and supply issues.
The Biggest Holiday Consumer Trend This Year: Convenience
The most significant factor that will affect many purchasing decisions this holiday season is convenience. Shoppers will be asking retailers:
- Can I order a product or service online whenever and however I want?
- Can I pick up the product in-store at a convenient time for me?
- Can I reserve the product in-store and have it waiting for me?
- Can I have the product delivered immediately?
- Can I return my product with a simple collection service or bring the product back to the store and have a replacement waiting for me?
Retailers that pay special attention to these factors will be in a better position for growth during the holiday season.
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