As expected, the pandemic has caused business owners and consumers to adapt, and as the 2020 holiday season approaches, business owners and managers need to be prepared for the shift in the retail landscape. Now more than ever, consumers are turning to eCommerce to find and purchase their goods. Knowing what you can expect for your business this holiday season will help you identify and mitigate potential issues as well as keep your products moving and your customers happy. Here are some holiday sales predictions you need to know.
2020 Holiday Sales Predictions
While brick and mortar retail stores are expected to see some growth this holiday season, the majority of sales will occur in eCommerce. In fact, Deloitte predicts that retail stores will see a 1-1.5% sales growth from last year. However, there is the possibility that retail sales could increase 2.5% to 3.5%, which is on the more optimistic side of things considering many small to medium-sized business owners rely heavily on retail sales and may not have the ability to launch an online store.
Without a doubt, eCommerce will do very well this year and will likely see a 25-35% increase year over year. Additionally, Deloitte predicts sales of more than $1.1 trillion.
Consumers are concerned with safety, finding essential items and sticking to their household budgets. Business owners have similar safety concerns as well as concerns about keeping their businesses open, providing products and services to their customers and maintaining consumer confidence.
There are a few important consumer confidence factors to consider in the retail growth predictions, which include:
- Anxiety—This plays a large role in whether consumers will go shopping at retail stores or choose online shopping.
- Financial concerns—Many consumers are facing hard economic times because of job loss. As a result, extra income or funds to purchase holiday gifts is limited without additional pandemic relief.
- COVID-19 vaccine—Without a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, many consumers don’t feel safe shopping inside a retail store.
How Could the Holidays Play Out?
The pandemic makes this holiday season a tricky one. While there’s no definitive prediction for the holiday season, there are some scenarios to consider as you prepare for the holiday retail and eCommerce season.
How will consumers respond to any pandemic changes? Will the supply chain be affected? How quickly or slowly will the economy recover? There are a lot of unknowns.
One possible holiday scenario would have consumers spending less and saving more. In this situation, consumers want to make sure they have funds for essential items and bills first because their financial and health-related anxieties are higher.
Another potential scenario is a bit more optimistic, where consumers have more confidence in the economic recovery and public health initiatives. Since the nation has experienced many travel restrictions, quarantines and shelter-in-place directives throughout the year, consumers may decide to use funds originally saved for travel or vacation on holiday gifts instead.
eCommerce is predicted to be the heavy hitter this year for holiday spending. In fact, more eCommerce sales are expected this year than ever before, and survey data from analytics firm Glassbox suggests that 70% of respondents planned to do the majority of their holiday shopping online. Additionally, the Glassbox survey showed that 39% of respondents planned to spend less on their holiday shopping this year compared to last year, and 40% of people surveyed said they plan to spend about the same as last year.
Preparing and Adapting Your Holiday Fulfillment
One thing is clear, and that is the majority of shoppers will choose online and digital shopping over retail. Consumer concerns with public health, safety and financial anxieties are the top reasons they are choosing the convenience of online shopping over visiting retail store locations. No matter what, your business could see an increase in digital sales, which means an increase in your fulfillment and shipping needs. As a small to medium-sized business owner, you can start preparing now for the different scenarios mentioned above. Here are some steps you can take:
- Manage your inventory and shipping supplies by checking in with your suppliers about any potential impacts they may be facing due to COVID-19, increased demand and changes to their shipping capacity.
- Prepare for potential business and shipping disruptions, such as hazardous winter weather, capacity or shipping issues, and a need for increased staff for the holidays, by having a plan in place.
- Use reverse logistics to assist your customers in returning items easily and efficiently because satisfied customers are more likely to remain customers in the future.
- Consider curbside or contactless pickup options for local customers who have ordered items from your retail location because survey data shows that half of consumers are looking for contactless pickup options.
- Upgrade your shipping by partnering with a 3PL who can help you source capacity, keep your products moving across the country and helps you track your shipment from start to finish.
Business and Holiday Shipping Made Simple
Whether you have a retail store or an eCommerce-focused strategy, your business will be shipping products this holiday season. Sourcing capacity, finding the right freight rates and tracking your holiday shipments is time consuming, especially when you are busy running your business.
Partnering with a 3PL, like FreightCenter, gives you the shipping tools you need to ship smoothly this holiday season. FreightCenter’s expert shipping agents and advanced transportation management system make shipping easier, more affordable and more efficient.