Mind the Digital Shift: Top Shopping Trends for Peak 2020


A new survey of 2,000 U.K. and U.S. consumers reveals how holiday shopping behaviors will be different this year, as consumers blend a variety of digital and omnichannel shopping options to get the safe and engaging shopping experiences they desire.

With 43% of US shoppers anticipating they’ll be spending less on Christmas this year, retailers will need to provide a multitude of shopping options to maximize every revenue opportunity.

Consumers dive into digital

The pandemic has propelled a rapid and permanent shift in consumer shopping behaviors, with 58% confirming the recent crisis prompted them shop online for items they would previously only have purchased in-store — with 65% rating their overall experience as good.

This impressive surge in digital adoption means brands and retailers need to brace for a continued uptick in demand for omnichannel services such as home delivery, click-and-collect, and curbside pickup. Especially as more than a third (36%) of US consumers say they’ll be heading online to complete this year’s festive purchases.

Today’s increasingly sophisticated omnichannel consumers are confidently embracing new virtual shopping modes like one-to-one consultations via social media and video. This year, 28% of US consumers say they will book a personal online shopping appointment to finalize their Christmas gift purchases.

With almost one-third (31%) of US shoppers confirming the pandemic experience has ignited a desire for more personalized digital shopping experiences, virtual interactive shopping appointments are proving a hit with consumers looking to replicate the in-person shopping experience online.

New hybrid shopping behaviors emerge

Consumers are using a host of tools to “channel hop” their way to the shopping experiences they want to encounter. And when it comes to shopping in-person, booking a planned appointment is becoming a top priority for the majority of consumers.

Hyper-wary of encountering crowds or in-store queues that could compromise their ability to maintain social distancing, 67% of US consumers say they would prefer book a guaranteed time to visit a store, rather than waiting in line for entry. As a result, 34% intend to prioritize shopping only with those retailers that offer a pre-booked appointment option.

Other technologies proving especially popular with consumers include scan and go apps, and virtual or augmented reality in-store displays that incorporate digital capabilities into the in-store experience.

Get ready for a retail reset

COVID-19 has changed consumer mindsets and indications are that shoppers will be unwilling to go back to way things used to be.

Having tried out a number of new digital and omnichannel shopping modes during the current crisis, consumers say their newly acquired hybrid shopping behaviors are now normalized and they now expect to engineer every shopping journey according to their needs.

Asked what options they’d like to continue for the long term, click-and-collect (31%), virtual shopping and consultations via social media and video (27%) and shopping by appointment (20%) were top of consumers’ wish lists.

With more and more consumers demanding convenient and innovative new ways of shopping – both on and offline - those retailers and brands that are able to satisfy the growing desire of consumers to curate and personalize every shopping interaction on their own terms will be best positioned to capture future spend for the long term.

John Federman is CEO of JRNI.