Holiday Shopping In 2020

The holiday season – a lucrative time for business when consumers choose to celebrate gratitude and togetherness through buying gifts for their loved ones. 

As with everything else in 2020, people have not been shopping for the holidays quite the same and brands are having to adapt accordingly. Here are a few ways holiday shopping is looking a little different this year:

1. Conscious gifting 
People have been choosing where to spend their money more thoughtfully, and holiday shopping is no different. With COVID-19, holiday spending per household is projected to be 7% lower as compared to last year, and people are considering their personal impact on and responsibility toward society in a different light. Consumers are seeking direct impact to their communities in various ways, whether buying at small local businesses, donating to causes near and dear to their hearts, or buying an online class for their friend.

While people are still buying from big box stores and the newest, coolest tech, they are also dedicating some of their spend to conscious shopping – spending less on themselves and more on supporting their community where they can.

2. Black Friday (month?)

While in-person experiences are known to be big happiness boosters, people still derive joy from buying things for themselves and others – and this has been a big deal in 2020. Consumers, in need of something to look forward to, are tapping into the positive holiday spirit by planning and shopping for holiday gifts earlier. 

Retailers are taking this new, protracted shopping period into consideration. Black Friday deals started at the end of October: Target’s recent holiday campaign, which encouraged people to shop throughout November for ongoing “Black Friday” deals. Lowe’s, GAP, and Home Depot have also followed suit by extending deals beyond a single day during the holiday season. 

What used to be one day of snooze-or-lose deals is now weeks of discounts that give consumers plenty of time to partake in holiday sales.  

3. Gifting as a means of connection

Spending quality time with loved ones is how the holidays are traditionally spent. But what happens when gatherings pose serious health risks for those people care about the most? 

In the upside down world that is this year, folks show love by keeping their distance. In lieu of everyone traveling to attend big family get-togethers, people are instead choosing to buy thoughtful gifts as a substitute to connect, share joy, and let the most important people in their lives know that they are loved. 

4. Instant gratification, delayed payment

People will want to buy the perfect gift, but budgets may be tight, so how will they achieve this? Retailers are now offering “Buy Now, Pay Later” options for consumers with hearts bigger than their budgets. With key players like Affirm, QuadPay, and Klarna popping up on product pages and at checkout, people are increasingly able to buy the perfect gift while being responsible with their cash. No doubt, a major bonus to consumers looking out for their wallets. 

By supporting responsible spending, these “Buy Now, Pay Later” providers are positioning themselves as major players in payment solutions, replacing the shady payday loans of the past.

We are in one of the most unconventional holiday seasons of recent history, and the trends point to a shift towards greater consumer intentionality around how, where, and why they are spending their money. Brands should take note: as the pandemic continues, these trends show no signs of slowing down.


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