Four Shopping Trends for the Holiday SeasonDecember 09, 2021 - by Matt Bednarsky
Whether the checkout line is in the store or on the web, the holiday season is always a bustling time for shopping. These past few years, however, have resulted in unprecedented shifts in shopping trends due to Covid-19.
While it remains to be seen whether all of these will persist when this pandemic is behind us, let’s look at four shopping trends for this holiday season.
More Deals Earlier On
The kick off to holiday shopping used to be Black Friday. Then Cyber Monday gained nearly as much attention. Now the sales have stretched back to before Thanksgiving with Cyber Week and Black Friday deals in November (and even October).
As the pandemic shifted shopping even further to the internet, businesses have both bolstered their online presence and dug in to extend the holiday shopping season. Even as brick and mortar stores see a resurgence, the waterfall of deals that begins in October is likely the new normal.
Free Shipping for (Almost) Everything
Shipping and handling were once commonplace phrases when it came to ordering online – paying a fee to ship a product to your house was normal and expected.
Now, the opposite is almost a given. Amazon Prime came along, and online shoppers just about expect free shipping with their purchase. If they don’t get it, they are either surprised, frustrated or eager to spend more to meet the free shipping threshold.
Companies fully understand this trend, and businesses will likely continue to embrace free shipping to stay competitive. However, don’t be fooled – it’s mainly a numbers trick. That is, the customer might not pay for an itemized shipping cost, but their ordered goods will likely have a higher price to compensate.
The Impact of Social Media on Consumer Choices
It’s no secret that social media has become a very powerful vehicle for holiday shopping advertising, and 2021 may prove to be the most evident year of this trend.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, 87 percent of Gen Z respondents are expected to have their 2021 holiday purchases influenced by social media. 83 percent of Millennial respondents, 76 percent of Gen X respondents and 66 percent of Baby Boomer and Silent Generation respondents reported the same. While the particular weight given to platforms changed depending on the generation – for instance, Gen X favored Facebook the most – the impact social media has on holiday shopping is very clear.
Shipping Delays Puts a Spotlight on Local
2021 has been a landmark year for supply chain shortages, shipping bottlenecks and delays. The challenges in the global economic system have put attention on local businesses and artisans not bogged down by the wide scale impacts.
Where big box retailers might have their inventory in a shipping container on the ocean, the mom & pop shop down the street may be ready and able to fulfill an order without delay.
In a year when the weak points of an internationally dependent economy have been exposed, the local economy is there to provide balance.