The past several months has proven the industry’s ability to adapt to the unexpected. This year, holiday shopping is likely to look a lot different. Although the future is an uncharted territory, both retailers and consumers are ready to take on this next season.
Based on a survey conducted by Loqate and their 2020 Holiday Shopper Insights Report, consumers are expecting this holiday season to be unlike any other.
With transforming shopper habits and upended season norms, Loqate dives deep into the expectations of US consumers:
The holiday shopping season has begun earlier than usual this year. A lot of factors have caused this, but mainly because consumers are worried about COVID-19. They want to shop sooner to avoid common frictions, such as out-of-stock items or shipping delays. Only 2% of last-minute shoppers are willing to wait until Christmas Eve to purchase gifts.
The influx of early shoppers is also likely caused by the increase of more spread-out holiday sales. Many retailers started their “Black Friday” deals back in October, with hopes to spread out traffic over periods of time rather than all at once. To cater to cautious in-stores shoppers, 81% of retailers have created additional precautions to ensure customer safety.
Despite the economic uncertainties of today, spending appears to be strong – with 42% of consumers anticipating spending the same amount on holiday gifts as last year, and 19% expect to spend more than last year.
Consumers have already shown a willingness to spend, and this is likely to continue as we head into the heart of the holiday season.
Increased E-Commerce Worries
With the increase in e-commerce, there are many worries among consumers about the shortcomings of online shopping. First being shipping, consumers are “very concerned” about their packages being stolen. Not only that, but cyberspace is filled with scammers looking to steal money and personal information – and the holiday season serves as a peak time for hackers. When it seems like every website is offering the “best deal” it can be difficult to know which one to trust. Because of this, consumers should do research before making online purchases.
Consumers have also expressed concerns that their items may arrive late. Package arrival delays from Fedex and UPS are expected to be much higher this year with the influx of online orders. With this, shipping rates among these companies have increased across the board.
Although e-commerce will play a bigger role this holiday season than previously, it seems that an omnichannel preference is the best way for retailers to fulfill all customer needs.
Free shipping serves as one of the main factors that impact consumers’ holiday purchasing decisions. However, this may be an issue for many companies to fulfill. There are a variety of hidden costs associated with online orders, returns being one of the main ones. Without a purchase minimum, it seems difficult for retailers to grant this wish for their consumers – especially if they want to continue to make a net profit.
Although the holiday shopping season has transformed, retailers are focused on recovery to provide the best possible solutions to their consumers. Consumers have taken note and have altered their own shopping habits to adapt to the current landscape. And even through these unprecedented changes, there is a strong possibility for the industry to end 2020 on a positive note.