By Daniel Tortis
The holiday season is quickly approaching. It is a critical part of the year for retailers, with many expanding their inventory size and making their largest profits of the year. Consumers benefit by finding great deals on gifts for their loved ones as well as themselves.
Holiday shopping usually starts on Black Friday- right after American Thanksgiving- and ends on Boxing Day. Many customers wait the entire year in anticipation for this period in order to make a variety of purchases including clothes, TVs and other consumer goods. However, due to the pandemic, there are numerous health and safety measures that have been implemented in brick and mortar stores along with restrictions on the number of customers in a store.
With the number of cases on the rise and the risk of catching the virus at an all time high, will we see shoppers flock to the malls during the holiday season like previous years? Here’s what the experts say and what you can do to plan accordingly.
According to reports, many stores will no longer have big sales early in the morning on both Black Friday and Boxing Day. This new strategy would protect customers from large crowds and possibly transmitting the virus. Instead, stores are focusing on offering Blowout Sales for the entire month.
“Clearly, Black Friday isn’t just one day this year — it’s months long,” Best Buy said in a statement.
This year many shoppers have started their holiday shopping much earlier. According to a survey by Forbes it was found that 3 in 10 shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping earlier than usual this year.
Another big trend that continues to grow, especially since the beginning of the Coronavirus in February of 2020, is online shopping. Online sales this November and December are forecast to surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion.
‘’Two years’ worth of e-commerce growth is about to be packed into one holiday season, according to a new forecast, as Americans turn in droves to online shopping to avoid crowded stores and malls during the coronavirus pandemic, ” notes CNBC journalist Lauren Thomas.
Amazon Prime Day early this October was a huge success.There was nearly a 60% increase over Prime Day 2019, growing even more than Amazon’s retail business. Amazon also expects to hold holiday sales again this year.
Spending could also be less this year with uncertainty around the economy as well as the unemployment rate reaching a high of 10.9 percent. Many people just don’t have the same disposable income after being off work for so long along with firings and furloughs around the country. A new survey said only 66 percent of people say they plan to spend the same amount on holiday shopping this year as they did last year.
The big question is how all of this impacts the consumer. Overall, shoppers should prepare for huge increases in online shopping that may lead to delays and early sell outs of products. They must also expect shipping delays and get a head start this year before things are out of stock.
2020 is an unprecedented year. Prepare for the worst; hope for the best.
Photo by Igor Rodrigues, Unsplash