Major holiday online shopping shift coming?

As American small business continues to navigate the current unprecedented situation, it seems that the American consumer may be turning their sights more toward online shopping this holiday season than ever before. In a recent research report released by marketing software firm Allocadia, it seems that the upcoming season just might have some surprises in store. The following is taken directly from their published report:

  • Findings from the survey of more than 1,000 Americans include a preference for online shopping during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a shift to more practical and essential gifts, and evolving expectations around diversity in holiday branding and advertising campaigns.
  • Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – signals the traditional start of the most active holiday shopping, but just under half (48%) of Americans say they will not be participating in Black Friday retail shopping this season. Shoppers’ attention has instead shifted online, as more people plan to participate in Cyber Monday (61%) than Black Friday (52%) this year. More than one-third (36%) of Americans say they conducted their holiday shopping in-store last year, while only 23% say they plan to do so in 2020. Some 44% of consumers are planning for online holiday shopping this year, versus 33% in 2019, and 33% also report that they shop online for both regular items and holiday items, an increase of 2% overall.
  • The findings also illustrate that women are not necessarily handling holiday shopping, despite what many people assume. Of those consumers who do plan to shop on Black Friday, more men (62%) plan to participate than women (42%), and more men than women (70% versus 54%) also plan to participate in Cyber Monday.
  • The confirmed shift from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce is due in part to consumers’ desire to avoid crowded stores and malls, maintain social distancing, and limit potential COVID-19 exposure.  More than one-third (36%) of Americans report that they do not feel comfortable shopping in-store right now. Among those who do not feel comfortable shopping in-store, 41% are waiting until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, while 29% say they will feel comfortable in 2021.
  • When it comes to enticing people to shop in-store, an equal number of respondents say that a big sale (35%) and a COVID-19 vaccine (35%) would motivate them, while 79% would consider shopping in-store versus online to obtain a better sale price.
  • Consumers are primed and ready to shop in 2020, and many are particularly keen to get on time the items that they want for gift-giving. Overall, 59% of Americans plan to shop sooner because of possible shipping delays or low inventory, likely based on their experience with pandemic-driven shipment issues.
  • Some 17% got a head start on their holiday shopping in September, while 21% of Americans plan to start their shopping in October, and 20% say they will start shopping in early November. Only 12% say they’ll start shopping on Black Friday. It seems that men are starting holiday shopping earlier than expected, as 20% started in September, 18% plan to start in October, and 16% say they will start in early November – while only 6% say they will shop in late December. Most women report planning to shop in October (23%) or early November (23%).
  • 38% of Americans anticipate their 2020 holiday spending to be the same as last year. 27% anticipate spending less than last year. 26% of consumers anticipate spending more than they did in 2019. Men plan to spend more this year than women (40% versus 13%).

-Written by Kevin Sawyer