This year is certain to be a holiday like no other, leaving retailers tasked to predict what strategies will win over shoppers in an unpredictable season.
However, there are a few safe bets. Location and real-time data will be key for retailers this season as regulations will vary for retailers from area to area. Safety will be top of mind, so stores will need to be on top of their game to draw shoppers inside, where allowed. E-commerce, curbside and mobile usage are likely to explode as many shoppers avoid stores out of safety concerns or are just too busy to visit shops.
Retailers should be preparing now to react to changing shopping behaviors. To help craft your holiday retail strategy, RIS takes a look at predictions and forecasts from the experts, along with recent retail surveys.
What Experts Say
“Lower projected holiday growth this season is not surprising given the state of the economy,” says Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster. “While high unemployment and economic anxiety will weigh on overall retail sales this holiday season, reduced spending on pandemic-sensitive services such as restaurants and travel may help bolster retail holiday sales somewhat. E-commerce is likely to be a big winner because consumers have shown a clear movement towards buying online rather than at brick and mortar stores.”
"Mobile shopping growth in Q2 2020 indicates mobile's booming role in this year's holiday shopping season,” says Lexi Sydow, Senior Market Insights Manager, App Annie. “Retailers, fintech and payment providers should prioritize features that resonate with shopping-from-home and socially-distant needs to capture customer spend and loyalty in our mobile-first world."
“Black Friday lines won’t disappear, but we expect lines of consumers waiting for store openings will be replaced by long queues of cars eagerly waiting for buy-online-pickup-curbside purchases to be placed in their vehicle,” says Stephen Baker, vice president, industry advisor for The NPD Group.
“The retailers that use real-time data to understand individual consumer preferences, make changes the data shows are needed, and effectively leverage multiple channels will be much more successful in securing consumer spend this holiday season,” says John Nash, chief marketing and strategy officer at Redpoint Global.
“This holiday season will likely look different by location and region, due to the differing regulations regarding the virus,” says Andrew Challenger, VP of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “While the holidays are usually a time when retailers are desperate to attract crowds to their stores, one constant with COVID-19 precautions is that most stores are now concentrating on how to provide a safe shopping experience. While retailers may not know exactly how many workers to hire during this period to keep up with demand, they will likely need to create positions and tasks that are unprecedented, such as temperature takers, mask enforcers, and curbside workers.”
“With new research predicting a 1% to 1.5% increase in total U.S. consumer spending from November through January, and a 35% increase in seasonal online sales, the holiday period is primed to be the perfect opportunity for retailers to try and recapture lost revenue from a difficult year," says Lars Larsson, CEO at Varnish Software. "If retailers want to capitalize on 2020’s seasonal spike, they need to review their systems now and ensure their website can deliver the same speeds and quality of experience customers have come to expect, even at peak levels of traffic."