Celebrating the holidays is one way shoppers plan to take their minds off the stress of coping with the pandemic. Money may be a little tighter than last year, but consumers are still willing to dig deep to buy gifts for their family and friends. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), annual survey shoppers plan to spend $999.79 on holiday items this season. This amount reflects a slight decrease of $50 from the previous year. However, spending on gifts was only down by $8. “Consumers have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability throughout these extraordinary times, said NRF President and CEO Mathew Shay.
Overall, the consumer’s desire to spend rather than save is good news for retailers. A few months ago, people were saving money at historical levels to be prepared if they lost their jobs or needed an emergency fund. It is challenging for retailers to make accurate projections and understand how consumers will respond in this time of uncertainty and shifts in buying habits. On average, holiday sales in November and December contribute 19 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue. So, it’s easy to understand why there is such a big push to expand the entire selling season into October rather than focus on specific days to motivate shoppers to buy.
Consumers are Prepared to Shop Early
Consumers are taking advantage of the variety of offers from retailers this holiday season, including earlier sales promotions and shipping options. “Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are focusing on making the holidays special for others but are playing it by ear when it comes to those ‘extra’ items they might get for themselves.”
- 42 percent of consumers will start shopping by the end of October, 41 percent plan to begin shopping in November
- One in five holiday shoppers who typically travel will stay home—53 percent of these shoppers will spend more on holiday decorations for the home
- 53 percent of consumers would shop earlier than usual for a sale or promotion
- 37 percent will shop early to avoid crowds
- 26 percent plan to shop early because they are worried the item will sell out
Majority of Consumers will Buy Online
Fueled by the pandemic, online shopping will reach a record high this season. Brick and mortar retailers should plan on accessing multiple channels to capture a share of online sales—this includes offering shoppers the opportunity to view products and place their orders on the store’s website.
- Sixty-four percent of consumers will spend more online this year than last year. (PowerReviews Holiday Consumer Survey)
- Seventy percent of consumers plan to make the majority of their holiday purchases online via web or mobile (Glassbox Survey)
- One in three Shoppers shop online daily (34 percent). One in five shops (19 percent) multiple times per day (Vertebrae Consumer Survey)
It’s important to note, scientists and medical professionals believe the nation is entering the second wave of COVID. As a result, many local and state governments are putting new guidelines to help contain the outbreak and potentially save lives. As was the case earlier in the year, these restrictions may directly impact the ability of brick and mortar retailers to have customers shop in-store this holiday season.
Hardware Stores Have Thousands of Gift Options
Since hardware stores and home improvement centers are essential businesses, they can provide shoppers with goods that are needed to keep homes operating smoothly, along with holiday merchandise. Besides promoting holiday lights, decorations, and trees, this is also an excellent time to play up gifts that consumers can purchase in-store or on the website. When searching online under the topic “gift,” Ace Hardware listed 243 items under “gifts and novelty items.” Although retailers can only stock a limited number of things, they can promote some of the thousands of articles sold online through their wholesalers. Consumers will gain access to a broader assortment from home and then pick up merchandise up in-store.
Bring Some Holiday Cheer to Your Customers
Although people are venturing out, most are selective about the places they choose to visit. Try giving your store a festive feel by playing holiday music and decorating it to reflect the season. It’s a little way to help people escape from their worries.