Online Shopping Trends This Holiday Season

It’s been a very challenging year for businesses around the globe, especially retail. COVID-19 has probably rewired the consumer’s brain and it’s apparent that e-commerce has undergone significant changes in the quest of navigating successfully toward the ‘new normal’. Recent research from Accenture suggests that in the United States, the 2020 holiday season will be very different from past years. Let’s look at the top 5 trends this holiday season.

1. Technological innovations helping retailers

With more than fifty-seven percent of consumers saying they’re anxious about shopping in stores over the holidays because of the coronavirus pandemic, technology has become a game-changer this year. AR (Augmented Reality) is helping online customers visualize products by simulating a real-life in-store experience. In addition to this, Big Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are helping businesses build personalized user experiences, optimize pricing and discounting, and forecasting demand.

2. Mobile shopping is high

The new normal has accelerated mobile e-commerce adoption. In fact, m-com sales will reach $314 billion by the end of 2020, which is $200 billion more than four years ago and represents over 44% of all e-commerce sales, reports eMarketer. The desire for contactless shopping experiences will even drive mobile payments.

3. Retailers are expected to show their sensitive side

Retailers will need to be exceptionally thoughtful in how they win over cautious and cost-conscious customers. The 2020 Accenture survey shows that consumers want retailers to be authentic to their brand purpose and demonstrate sensitivity and care towards employees and communities with 57% of consumers saying that they would be inspired to shop with a retailer that supported their staff and customers during the crisis

4. Sustainability is becoming more important

Because of the persisting unemployment rates and the COVID-19 spike that might again lead to deteriorating economic conditions, consumers could keep themselves from purchasing as much as they have in recent years. However, in the past few years, consumers have also become aware of the role that their purchasing decisions have on our planet. Brands will have to adopt eco-friendly initiatives that include biodegradable packaging, going paperless, use recyclable supplies, and demonstrate that they are committed to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint. 44% of consumers surveyed reported they will be considering sustainability to a great extent when shopping or choosing a brand this year, says a global IBM Institute for Business Value study.

5. Earlier offers and post-holiday promotions

In order to spread out their budget and plan ahead, consumers have started to shop early. A recent PayPal survey revealed that more than one-third of retailers expect holiday sales to be lower than last year. As a result, many retailers have already planned to move promotions to earlier in the season. Emerging trends promise to make 2021 an eventful year for retailers. While new risks come together with new changes, we need to believe where there’s disruption, there’s an opportunity. Over time, digital technology is driving fundamental changes to the old-fashioned transactional model and making consumers more comfortable with paying for value. Although shifts in consumer behavior have had repercussions in 2020 and will continue to in 2021, retailers need to combine the strengths of both online and physical stores in order to create a compelling hybrid model that transforms a retail space into an experience center.