Below we’ve re-posted an article from CNBC.com which discusses how Holiday Shopping in the year of COVID-19 will be different than other years. The key points of this article echo several other predictions for the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season.
The four takeaways are:
- Shop Early
- Shop Online
- Be Aware/Prepared For Shipping Delays
- Tangible Gifts (Not Services & Experiences) Will Dominate
Another key item not listed in this article would be that people may need to finance their purchases this year to lessen the holiday shopping blow during these uncertain times. Ideal Luxury offers financing on most items in our store through Affirm. Contact us for more information.
Not even Santa knows what this holiday season is going to put under the tree for retailers.
The challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have upended the retail industry – forcing stores and malls temporarily shut, pushing some companies into bankruptcy court and accelerating store closures. It has instilled new behaviors in consumers, who are spending more time and money online — a trend that could become permanent. Long-standing holiday shopping traditions are also being tested.
“This holiday is going to be unlike any holiday season I think any of us have ever seen before,” Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Chip Bergh told CNBC earlier this week.
Many analysts expect the season to kick off next week, with the start of Amazon’s annual Prime Day shopping extravaganza. The event, which usually takes place in July, was delayed by the pandemic. Target, Walmart and other retailers are also vying for consumer attention with their own deal days, some of which precede Prime Day’s start on Tuesday.
Here are four key ways shopping during the holidays is changing this year.
Shopping starts now
The consensus is shoppers won’t wait for Black Friday to begin tackling their gift lists.
Three in 10 consumers say they expect to start their holiday shopping earlier than usual this year, while 1 in 10 say they expect to procrastinate, according to a study by Coresight Research, which surveyed 1,116 U.S. internet users over 18 years old last month.
Retailers will do all they can to coax those procrastinators. The industry’s leading trade group, the National Retail Federation, recently debuted an ad campaign, “Shop safe, shop early,” to discuss the health benefits of shopping when stores are less crowded.
Retailers are also looking to avoid last-minute logistical nightmares, which can drive up their costs. That’s why they have already stocked the shelves with red and green decor. And Home Depot, Best Buy and others are doling out deals on toolkits and electronics in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Busting down the door for Black Friday bargains will likely be a tradition of the past.
“We’ve seen some data that says customers will be looking for value earlier and participating less in that all-important one-day event in stores,” Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton said in an interview. “It’s a very different season. And I think we’re all going to learn together as we go through it.”
Salesforce estimated that as much as $6 billion of retail spending in the U.S. that tends to take place during Cyber Week in November — and as much as $26 billion globally — is expected to be pulled into October this year.
Prime Day itself could pull forward as much as 10% of the traditional Cyber Week’s digital revenue, Salesforce predicted.
Load up the online carts
With some areas starting to see a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, and with the looming threat of the cold winter months sparking more coronavirus spread, many consumers will be staying at home and browsing the web for their holiday gifts this year.
Deloitte expects holiday e-commerce sales to surge by 25% to 35%, amounting to between $182 billion and $196 billion, compared with year-over-year growth online of 14.7% in 2019, when sales amounted to $145 billion.
If they haven’t already, retailers are rushing to invest more in digital to make sure they can meet the heightened traffic on their websites and mobile apps. Some, like Gap, are looking to quickly bulk up their call centers and warehouses with extra workers. Bed Bath & Beyond just rolled out same-day delivery. Zales owner Signet Jewelers said it has made investments in an Ohio warehouse to be able to ship five times as many packages as a year ago.
Companies like Target and Best Buy are also pushing curbside pickup options for online orders — as a way for shoppers to quickly retrieve their items, while saving the company money that would have been spent on extra packaging and shipping.
“It’s no longer about products, pricing and promotions. It’s prepare, perceive and then pursue,” said Michael Brown, a partner at consulting firm Kearney’s consumer products and retail practice. “We know consumers are going to increase their e-commerce shopping. As a retailer, how do I get that into their hands in a cost-efficient manner?”
One thing, though, that could drive some sort of rebound for in-store shopping late in the season is the promise of an effective Covid-19 vaccine, said Rod Sides, a vice chairman at Deloitte and its retail and distribution sector leader. But that’s still highly unpredictable, and not something retailers should be betting on, he said.