How consumers are approaching holiday shopping differently in 2020

How consumers are approaching holiday shopping differently in 2020

A new survey by Deloitte found that consumers plan to limit during this holiday season their spending, travel and experiences, in-store shopping and time spent shopping.

“In this season of uncertainty, price, value and convenience continue to be top considerations for consumers, as is the desire to get creative with how they celebrate the season with family, friends and pets, no matter the circumstances,” Rod Sides, vice chairman and U.S. leader for retail, wholesale and distribution for Deloitte, said in a news release. “As travel spend declines, retailers will likely benefit and should receive a higher percentage of total holiday spend.

“The key for retailers is to stay flexible and offer options that appeal to consumers’ changing behaviors and address their evolving needs,” Sides said. “Those that do will likely be better positioned for a bright holiday season.”

In-store versus online

More than 50% of the 4,000-plus consumers surveyed feel anxious about shopping in-store, with 65% preferring to shop online to avoid crowds, according to Deloitte’s report. Seventy-three percent plan to have items delivered this season, up from 62% in 2019. Twenty-seven percent expect to use curbside pickup, up from 11% in 2019.

“More than ever, shoppers are looking for safe and convenient ways to keep the season fun and festive,” Stephen Rogers, executive director of the Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center, said in the release. “As a result, more shoppers are turning to contactless shopping options like home delivery and curbside pickup for safety and convenience. This holiday season is going to test even the best supply chains and logistics. Retailers who successfully address last-mile requirements this season will like what they find in their own holiday stocking.”

Competitive advantage

Among the top attributes for retailer selection, according to the report, are getting a great deal (61%), high-quality products and brands that can be trusted (49%), variety of products and styles available (46%) and ease of checkout process (38%).

Fewer people are open to buying from new retailers this holiday season — 65% versus 79% in 2019 — but better prices, unique products, coupons or discounts, and stock availability are factors that people say would influence them to try different stores, per the report.

Tightening the purse strings

Thirty-eight percent of shoppers plan to spend less on holiday shopping this year because of concerns around economic instability. That expectation is most pronounced among lower-income consumers, but even 35% of households with income of $100,000 or more say they plan to cut back compared to 2019, according to the report.

Nearly half of consumers — 47% — don’t expect to partake in big shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday, but among those who do engage on those days, Cyber Monday has surpassed Black Friday in importance, across generations.

Food and beverage

Sixty-five percent of consumers surveyed plan on purchasing food and beverage items for the holidays, and food and beverages are the top two items consumers will purchase for themselves this year, according to the release.

Thirty-three percent expect to buy beverages, and 30% plan to buy food, including meal preparation kits, during the holiday season.

Travel and socializing away from home is expected to be down 34% from 2019, with many more celebrations happening locally versus involving trips around the country.