How COVID-19 Could Shift Holiday Shopping Behaviors This Year [New Data]
In 2020, B2C businesses all over the world pivoted their strategies as consumers dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only did the pandemic pressure people to live and work strictly from home, but it also place a financial burden on many households and businesses.
Now, as the holidays approach, both physical and online business owners are wondering if they will still get the same degree of booming business they noticed last year.
Because we (unfortunately) can’t predict the future, we all decided to survey a sample of nearly 300 general customers about their holiday purchasing plans.
Specifically, we questioned, “Compared to last year, how will COVID-19 impact your vacation shopping plans? ”
As part of the Lucid survey, participants could check all the boxes related to how their holiday shopping would be impacted.
While you’ll see that some of the responses align with research-backed shopping predictions, the overall results of the survey might surprise you:
While you might not be shocked that many participants are planning more online shopping than last year, you might be surprised that nearly one-third of them still plan to go to physical shops.
Additionally , with 41% associated with respondents planning to spend less money or buy fewer presents this year, you might wonder if budget-conscious consumers will still spend money on your products.
Remember, this really is just one small poll associated with general consumers. Had we all zoned in on a particular audience target or area, the results might have been very different.
However , these responses are still worth keeping in mind as you navigate the vacation season. It also hints at possible trends that could continue within 2021.
Below, I’ll walk you through the three greatest holiday shopping pivots customers plan to make this year, as well as a few business takeaways to get handling each shift.
3 Pivots Holiday Shoppers make in 2020
1 . Despite online growth, physical shops won’t be vacant.
As you might expect, the number one holiday purchasing change, cited by 47% of survey respondents, was, “I plan to do a lot more online shopping. ”
This is practical. In 2020, consumers exactly who weren’t tech-savvy learned buying almost everything they needed online. Meanwhile, those who already made purchases regularly online embraced it more heavily. In addition , with holiday shopping periods known for closely packed quarters stores, some consumers may opt to stay at home this year to avoid the crowds.
However , it doesn’t seem like foot-traffic will end completely.
To learn more about how abundant ecommerce would be this season, all of us asked, “Where do you intend to do your holiday buying this year? ”
As it ends up, lots of people still plan to store in-person this season:
While 33% of consumers plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” online, 34% plan to do an “even mix of both online and in-store shopping. ”
On the other hand, 33% percent plan to shop “mostly” or “completely” in-store this year.
Although this survey is simply one small piece of data, and these results might differ by location, the reactions hint that physical stores might still get company despite increased online shopping.
Takeaways for Business Owners
Ultimately, to shop online is growing — and we find more online purchase income with each new holiday season.
Even if our survey outcomes show that people still intend to shop at least partially in stores, you should consider building an online presence and — potentially — a good ecommerce strategy.
When it comes to building an online presence, you could start with a business page on Facebook or Instagram, or a Google My Business listing to help internet users learn more about your brand and where you’re located.
For anyone who is ready and able to sell your products online, a lot of digital tools, like HubSpot and Shopify, can help you develop a simple, but effective web store.
For example , if you already market your brand with a Facebook Business Page or Instagram Company profile, you could highlight promote a few of your most popular products in a Facebook Shop. This will allow you to test the seas with ecommerce by offering a few select products on-line. Then, once you feel self-confident in your shipping and supply chain, you can launch a full e-commerce site with one of these tools.
2 . Shoppers might not splurge — even on gifts.
Because of the uncertain financial times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, buyers were already tightening their budgets and protecting their particular assets. Now, with plans for in-person holiday events uncertain for many folks, additionally, there are fewer reasons to purchase presents and other holiday items.
However , since holidays have been known to encourage people to splurge a lot more than usual, you might think that this season could be an exception to present shopping trends.
When polling general consumers, 26% % said, “I plan to spend less money. ” while 15% said, “I plan to purchase fewer gifts due to limited holiday gatherings. ” As a whole, 41% of consumers indicated that they plan to spend less or buy fewer products this season.
The data above, although unsurprising, still reaffirms consumer forecasts that might be concerning to business owners.
Takeaways for Businesses
By now, brands have already seen customers tighten budgets and limit non-essential purchases. Not to mention, research from McKinsey and other businesses predict that consumers will certainly continue to spend more frugally through 2021.
But , even if that you simply up to date on the current market study trends, you might not be sure how you can grapple with these consumer habits shifts.
Right now, buyers require extra motivation to buy expensive or non-essential products. As the holidays might give them a reason to splurge a bit more compared to they have throughout the year, consumers may still want to invest in products with the best value — whether they’re buying for them selves or their families.
Because people are looking for essential products they need or items that offer the greatest bang for their buck, concentrate your messaging on answering questions like:
- “Why does the customer need this product? ”
- “How does this product or provider solve one of their troubles? ”
- “Why is the product worth its price? ”
Apart from adjusting your messaging, you can even adjust your content to help you solution the questions above. For instance , you can post content that will highlights sales, deals, plus promo codes that people with increased stringent budgets might use.
If you can’t offer a sale or even deal, you could alternatively use testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content from your current clients in your marketing. When you discuss a happy customer’s review or testimonial, you allow prospects to hear stories of people who benefited from your products. This can build a sense of authenticity and brand trust that ultimately leads to buys.
3. Shoppers will take interpersonal distancing seriously.
Above, all of us noted that our respondents still want to shop at least partly in stores this year. But , most of them might also want to avoid bustling locations that have historically been seen during holiday shopping seasons.
Because of this, the third biggest vacation shopping change — which 33% of respondents reported — was, “I nevertheless plan to shop in stores but will be more cautious of social distancing. ”
Takeaways just for Businesses
While small business owners would love to see crowds line up in order to enter their stores during the holiday season, it’s clear that things will be very different this season. Not only will customers be mindful about social distancing, but other research shows that they might be more concerned about their health and safety when shopping than ever.
If you want to embrace in-person foot-traffic opportunities this particular holiday season, it’s important to know that individuals might be fearful of crowds or getting too near to others. Because of this, you should invest in PPE for your staff, while also considering protective barriers, one-way aisles, and other methods to keep people far aside.
While this will not only make clients feel safer in your shop, it could give you a competitive benefit over shops that take fewer precautions. After all, clients trust brands that value them and their basic safety.
Navigating a Unique Holiday Season
Whilst we can offer suggestions plus basic data on how vacation shopping will change this year, you have to keep in mind that results could be different for every business — regardless of whether physical or online.
Even though planning a holiday strategy in a pandemic can feel challenging or nearly impossible, keeping some tips in mind could still help you get sales and conspiracy consumers who are ready and able to shop.
- Market your own product’s value: Now — and in the longer term — consumers will need to be persuaded that your product is valuable, much better than a cheaper option, and really worth investing in. If your messaging, reviews, or online content fail to convey those things, a budget-minded shopper might very well purchase something from a competitor — or avoid buying any product in your industry whatsoever.
- Build an online presence: Even if you plan to rely on foot-traffic this year, you’ll still want to develop an online presence so people can learn about your own store, where you’re situated, and any deals you offer. If you’re ready to step into the world of ecommerce, many straightforward tools can help you launch a scalable online store.
- Value your customer: This year, customers are paying extra attention to how brands treat them. When a brand makes an effort to ensure a pleasing and safe experience, shoppers will certainly remember and trust all of them more. Even if your business is mostly online, you can still show customers you care through helpful and responsive customer care, answering customer questions upon social media, and offering deals or content that resolve for your ideal customer.
To learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted the entire business landscape, check out our six-month retrospective fueled simply by data from thousands of HubSpot users.
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