After what some call a whirlwind year, things are finally slowing down as we approach the last few months of the year. This year, a lot has happened, and most families and households are eagerly anticipating the holiday season for some much-deserved respite and a partial return to regular activities.
Although many things have changed this year, experts will not expect to take a massive hit in the Christmas gift shopping season. The world might have changed, but our desire to buy gifts and share them with the ones we love seems only to have gotten stronger.
2020 has been a very challenging year in many respects. Routines have been upended, trends have changed, and businesses have seen drastic shifts in consumer behavior across sectors, with e-commerce experiencing rapid growth. According to Deloitte, online sales are expected to grow between 25% – 30% and account for nearly 17% of total retail sales this year.
With restrictions still in place and projected to remain in effect up to the end of the year and beyond, both shoppers and retailers are mostly looking towards online shopping to meet the demands of the most significant shopping period of the entire year. Below some important steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve.
An Early Start
The last quarter of the year may just have begun. Still, retailers and online businesses are already pushing hard for their customers to start their Christmas gift shopping earlier than usual. This is not surprising, any customer-centered brand with proper knowledge of online shopping dynamics in recent times will create awareness around this.
Apart from this, early preparation is crucial for businesses, with nearly 38% of consumer respondents surveyed in the Tinuiti 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends Report saying they will start shopping for gifts before Thanksgiving and 34.2% claiming that they will begin purchasing during ‘Cyber Weekend’ (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday).
For retailers, the early push for Christmas gift shopping is spurred by the projected increase in disposable income for shoppers not severely affected by the pandemic. During the 2019 holidays, consumers spent about 12% of their holiday budgets on services like food, travel, sporting events, amounting to about $450 billion, according to Coresight.
With vacations, restaurant visits, and holiday events out of the question for most people, that leaves more money available for gifts. In a recent poll, nearly 7 in 10 people, or 68.9% of respondents, said they are shifting some of their spendings from services to retail products because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Experts have officially declared the shopping season open, with more prominent brands already holding their sales and flash sales events in the past week.
Both larger e-commerce platforms/retailers and smaller retail businesses are expected to keep their sales and promo events during the weeks leading up the black Friday in November to attract the early Christmas shoppers and persuade the procrastinators.
Ticking Off Your Wishlist
The other great reason to start Christmas gift shopping early is the availability of most items that may appear on your Wishlist. The year has seen the closure and bankruptcy of many brands and suppliers across industries.
That has resulted in shortages of some items and others not being restocked in time for the holidays. Items on sale now or available in limited stock on a platform are not expected to still be available in November as savvy shoppers snap up the best items before the traditional shopping season.
A major trend this year for shoppers is electronics and household items. Remote work has become the norm in many industries. As more people stay home, remote workers and their loved ones will be looking at gifting electronics and household items to help optimize their work experience and make them more comfortable.
Fashion and clothing items are going to be among popular gift items this year. The fashion industry has arguably taken the biggest hit in terms of sales this year. Multiple fashion brands and retail shops have reportedly closed down or gone bankrupt.
That may be bad news for loyal customers anticipating next season’s pieces that will never come, but great news for shoppers who want to take advantage of clearance sales and the massive discounts that are being given.
Expect Shipping Delays
In the past, you might have been able to order something online just two days before Christmas and still receive it in under 48 hours. You should not expect that this year. Some experts have said shipping cut-offs for delivery by Christmas Eve might come as early as December 15 and may attract higher delivery fees than ever before.
The global pandemic has affected the supply chain of many retailers throughout the year. For weeks during the lockdown period, consumers stuck at home turned to e-commerce for much of their shopping needs, creating unprecedented online sales growth. But the same circumstances that kept shoppers in front of their computers also kept many workers out of factories. That caused large gaps at various stages of the delivery and supply process.
With the multi-faceted problem just slowly starting to see some recovery, experts are worried the reduced supply capacity will not adequately handle the rush of orders during the holiday season.
Although shipping capacity is being ramped up across the board, you should expect delays with your orders and, as such, should factor that delay in your Christmas gift shopping plans. Start as early as you can.
Another reason retailers are beginning the Christmas shopping season early this year is that spreading out the orders throughout the last quarter will lessen the supply mechanism’s burden during the peak shopping period.
Send gifts online
Since travel and gathering restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic are most likely still going to be in place by Christmas, gifts are expected to come in the mail and not under a Christmas tree this year. Sending gifts from an online store is convenient, and is the safer option with Covid-19 fears is still present.
Localgift.ph is a platform that allows you to shop for someone special and send gifts online. Your gifts get delivered to their doorstep, hassle-free. With Localgift.ph, you can send your loved ones thoughtful presents, beautifully arranged gift baskets, bundles, and bouquets this Christmas season.
Ordering a gift on the platform is quick and easy. Once you have found the perfect gift, input a coupon if available for great discounts and promos, write your loved one a personal note that will be delivered along with your gift, add their address and contact info, set your preferred delivery date, confirm your order, and make payment. The process is fast and straightforward, with options to change your order, recipient, and delivery address up to at least two days before your delivery date.
It’s expected delivery feature lets you choose when you want your present delivered. That allows you to do your shopping in advance, far ahead of the chaotic festive season and out of stock woes.
Shopping online would be a great way to surprise your loved ones with a thoughtful gift this Christmas season, especially given that you are likely to spend the holidays apart this year. So, you should start visiting online stores from today to shop for your Christmas gift needs and have them delivered to your loved one on time.