While some reports have suggested that consumers will be spending less this holiday season, it appears the blockbusters that define the peak period will continue to drive more sales. Eighty-one percent of shoppers say they will spend the same or more as last year on holiday blockbuster deal events, according to research from Periscope by McKinsey.
China leads the pack at 90 percent, which aligns well with the upcoming 11.11 Singles Day event, which has taken over as the largest e-commerce sales day of the year globally. Germany, at 89 percent, and France, at 85 percent, notched the second- and third-most prepared to spend during a major shopping day, while the U.K. and the U.S. rounded out the top five with 75 percent and 73 percent respectively.
In total, 55 percent of the 3,500 global shoppers surveyed in those five markets still say they are shopping on Black Friday, while 43 percent said they already shopped on Amazon’s Prime Day. The rest are shopping on Cyber Monday (39 percent), during pre-Christmas sales (38 percent), and on Singles Day (26 percent).
The discounts aren’t just going to stop at Christmas, according to one solution provider. Parcel Pending, a provider of package management solutions, unveiled in its 2020 holiday predictions that these deals will extend from now until January in order to generate revenue.
With discount expectations going all the way into 2021, retailers appear to be preparing for economic uncertainty as well, as 42 percent of holiday shoppers expressed a slight or significant income reduction, according to the Periscope survey.
In line with Prime Day and the rest of the industry pulling its sales forward, nearly half of the respondents said they intended to begin shopping earlier, with holiday shoppers in the United Kingdom most likely at 56 percent to get a head start, while U.S. shoppers are not far behind at 52 percent. China and Germany both have 48 percent of shoppers that wanted to shop ahead of schedule, while only 40 percent of French shoppers showed interest.
Across all five markets studied, 39 percent of respondents said they intended to shop more online during the holidays this year than they did last year, with the U.K., China, and the U.S. leading the way. But given that this survey took place in September, this percentage will probably be higher. Now that the U.K. and France face nationwide November shutdowns and Germany operates under new restrictions, consumers in these countries will likely return to the digital shopping behaviors akin to the first lockdown.
In the U.S., digital adoption is expected to translate into a surge in e-commerce holiday sales growth by at least 19 percent, which is actually a very tempered number compared to data projected by Adobe Analytics, which predicts anywhere from 33 percent to 47 percent digital growth.
As expected, a package windfall is coming
Parcel Pending expects couriers to deliver significantly more packages as consumers opt to avoid stores and shop online, with multifamily residential communities and apartment complexes potentially seeing as many as 486 package deliveries per week. This is important for multifamily communities to be aware of as the number of packages they receive typically increases from an average of 150 packages per week to 270 packages per week during the holidays, the company said.
“Many of our multifamily partners have experienced year-over-year package volume increases between 60 to 67 percent this year,” said Lori A. Torres, CEO and founder of Parcel Pending in a statement. “We expect that year-round, holiday-like package volume will continue in 2021 and want to remind communities that it is not too late to invest in a smart locker solution.”
Torres suggests smart lockers amid an increase in stolen packages, with Parcel Pending citing a July Value Penguin survey that indicated that 18 percent of Americans reported having had a package or delivery stolen. And for holiday shoppers living in apartment complexes, remain vigilant—as much as 40 percent of package theft takes place within apartment communities.
In-store safety concerns remain consistent
The worries associated with online shopping already compound concerns about physical retail stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. With the jump in e-commerce purchases comes the inevitable downturn in brick-and-mortar transactions as shoppers still show restraint on entering stores. Periscope says 45 percent of shoppers planned to browse in stores this holiday season, a sharp drop from last year’s 65 percent.
Concerns about in-store safety are largely consistent across markets. Holiday shoppers in every country except China rate universal mask wearing and the use of protective barriers at checkout as the most important safety features. For Chinese respondents, the use of health checks before entering a store is considered most valuable, at 61 percent.
The availability of cleaning and sanitizing supplies is also a necessary safety element in all countries. For U.S. and French holiday shoppers (31 percent and 38 percent respectively), one-way aisles and special hours for older shoppers and other vulnerable groups are important factors.
“The holiday shopping season in Europe has been thrown a curve ball. Retailers need to course-correct their holiday strategies and empathize with consumer disappointment and elevated anxiety levels,” said Brian Ruwadi, senior partner and global leader of Periscope by McKinsey. “The focus should be on recalibrating supply chains and introducing new omnichannel browsing experiences, to cater for changes in restrictions. Globally, we are seeing holiday emotions and behaviors follow the curve of the pandemic. The savvy retailers will be pre-empting changes based on the predicted infection rate.”