‘Tis the season of good cheer… and great online shopping. Consumer spending is set to reach astronomical heights this holiday season, with some analysts predicting that sales will rocket to $2 billion. A big chunk of that spending will be done online.
Here’s what retailers need to know about the 2021 holiday season to prepare for next year’s holiday season.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the behemoth of all shopping days during the holiday season, have lost a bit of their luster.
Why? Shoppers are hitting the stores early. This year, retailers started pumping out Black Friday promotions in October. By the time the actual day rolled around, many customers had already completed their shopping.
Online retailers pulled in $8.9 billion on Black Friday this year. In 2020, the number was $9 billion.
Cyber Monday sales dropped this year, as well. Sales hit $10.7 billion, a 1.4% drop from last year. It’s the first time in history that Cyber Monday sales have faltered.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have lost some heft, but Adobe Analytics predicts that this holiday season’s overall e-commerce activity will be record-breaking. Consumers are spending more than ever; but the difference is that they’re simply spreading their shopping over a few days.
For some, the 2021 holiday season started as early as March when the government released its third round of stimulus checks. Having extra cash in the bank allowed many families to increase their discretionary spending.
Having the extra money also allowed for better planning. There’s no reason to wait to buy the perfect gift if you find what you’re looking for and you have the money to pay for it.
Early holiday shopping is also being driven by COVID-19 concerns. The pandemic is still wreaking havoc on the supply chain, leading to unexpected delays and shortages. According to McKinsey’s 2021 holiday report, 45% of shoppers started buying holiday presents in October. A third of those shoppers have already purchased everything they need.
Before the pandemic, about 25% of consumers reported waiting until December to start shopping. This year, the number has shrunk to 11%.
Early shopping isn’t the only change this season. Here are a few more holiday shopping trends retailers can expect this year and years to come.
Is your site optimized for mobile traffic? Customers want to interact with your business through their phones.
Consumers don’t want to wait for their purchases or go to multiple locations to find what they need. In addition to online delivery, many businesses with physical storefronts let customers order online and pick up their items in person.
Consumers are falling in love with buy now, pay later plans. These plans may lessen the immediate impact buying gifts has on consumers’ bank accounts, but they’re not perfect. Missed payments can trigger later fees.
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