In Retail
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3 Shopping Trends That Will Shape the Holidays


s we approach the holidays, many retailers have already launched holiday and Black Friday promotions to help customers get a head start on their shopping, limit crowds in retail stores, and ensure deliveries arrive on time. Total US retail sales for the November–December holiday period will reach $1.013 trillion, according to eMarketer predictions. The ways in which customers shop and celebrate will be different this year, as consumer habits shift and new shopping trends emerge. 

Here are 3 shopping trends and predictions for the upcoming holiday weekend and the rest of the holiday season. 

Consumers Turn to eCommerce

Rather than go out and face potentially cold weather, coronavirus risks, and closed stores this holiday weekend, consumers will likely shop online. Consumers are expected to spend $39.10 billion online during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, up 39.6% from 2019, according to eMarketer projections. Thanksgiving will see a dramatic increase in eCommerce sales of 49.5%, reaching $6.18 billion. Black Friday will experience its first $10 billion spending day, rising 39.4% year-over-year. The Cyber Five period will be capped off with record-setting sales on Cyber Monday, which is expected to rise 38.3% to $12.89 billion, making it the top online spending day of the year.

3 shopping trends that will shape the holidays
Consumers are expected to spend $39.10 billion online during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, up 39.6% from 2019.

Fewer In-Store Shopping Trips

Four out of five Americans have yet to return to pre-coronavirus levels of comfort with “normal” out-of-home activities, according to McKinsey. Most shoppers will make fewer, targeted trips to minimize their time inside stores. Shoppers will have fewer store visits, but when they do go into a physical store they will purchase more. This puts retailers like Walmart and Target that offer one-stop shopping at an advantage. However, smaller retailers may see less foot traffic.

Increased Demand for Fast Fulfillment

With coronavirus risks remaining high, consumers have rapidly adopted contactless shopping and eCommerce. Many retailers have launched or refined omnichannel shopping and fulfillment capabilities this year, including buy online pickup in-store, curbside pickup and on-demand delivery. These features will come in handy during the holiday season as consumers have become accustomed to using them and value the convenience and safety they provide. Retailers have stepped up these fulfillment capabilities as they prepare for an influx of online orders. 

Walmart’s holiday preparation includes creating “pop-up eCommerce distribution centers” to fulfill home delivery orders. The retailer is creating pop-up eCommerce distribution centers, in 42 of its existing regional distribution centers across the U.S., to meet its growing demand for delivery of online orders. Walmart expects to ship up to 30% of its holiday volume from these pop-up eDCs. Amazon is pushing holiday shoppers to pick up their packages from brick-and-mortar retail locations and neighborhood “hubs,” as it braces for a surge in online orders.

This year, retailers that traditionally operated in one way for a long period of time have become much more flexible. Online shopping and fulfillment capabilities have seen unprecedented growth. The holiday season will likely take it to new heights as shoppers browse holiday deals from the comfort and safety of their couches. Retailers that make the shopping experience fast, safe, and convenient for customers will increase customer satisfaction and success amid the holiday stress.

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