As we grapple with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the retail sector, the critical holiday shopping season is poised to look unlike anything we have experienced in the past.

From reduced shopping hours and store capacity limits to an e-commerce first mentality, technology will play a major role in how consumers approach holiday shopping over the coming years. There are a few notable trends that we can expect to emerge as holiday shopping begins to ramp-up: 

#1: Curbside Pickup

Gone are the days of hitting the mall for a full day of shopping to stock up on gifts for everyone on your list. Shoppers are reporting that they are likely to limit the amount of time they spend in store, if they choose to enter a physical store at all, and are instead likely to select curbside pickup or online ordering.

Globally, 47 per cent of shoppers reported that they are more likely to shop online than in years past. Similarily, retailers reported a 27 per cent revenue increase in BOPUS (buy online pickup in store) in Q1 2020*. This trend is only likely to grow as retailers modify operations to support omnichannel shopping experiences.

#2: Homemade Gifts

During the heart of the COVID-19 lockdown in March and April, consumers were honing their D.I.Y at home.

Search terms related to D.I.Y activities such as gardening, knitting, and artisanal coffee making increased 80 per cent between 2019 and 2020. We can only expect that these new skills will be put to use to produce homemade gifts for loved ones.

#3: Quality Over Quantity

With consumers less likely to spend hours on end inside the mall, we will see the emergence of quality over quantity when it comes to gift giving habits.

The convenience of online shopping allows consumers to save time as opposed to the mad-dash mall shop of years past. We can expect to see great thought and care put into each curated gift, as the economic and job uncertainty many people are facing has made impulsively buying knick knacks lose its appeal.

With consumers bracing for an even larger re-emergence of COVID this winter, we can only expect to see a fundamental impact on how they approach holiday shopping. It’s not only a question of what to buy, but also a question of how.

*Sources: Salesforce Market Research (2020), Google (2020). 

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