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The Christmas season is obviously essential for consumer spending, but the coronavirus will cause companies to face significant issues in 2020. To increase income and adapt to changing consumer expectations, retailers will be driven to rework their old playbooks in a variety of ways.

In a recent interview, a group of consumer experts from Mintel, a prominent market research firm, provided advice to merchants looking to gain a competitive edge as the year draws to a close. Here are five of the most important projections and trends they mentioned.

Pent-up consumer desire will fuel holiday shopping

Despite the fact that the holidays will be different this year, Alexis DeSalva, Senior Research Analyst for Retail and eCommerce at Mintel Reports US, believes that there will be a tremendous pent-up desire among US consumers “to simply enjoy anything in whatever capacity” and spend on holiday shopping.

A similar trend is expected to stimulate holiday buying in the UK and Europe. According to Mintel’s research, the vast majority of these customers feel that “having a nice Christmas after the events of 2020” is critical.

In fact, in the countries worst hit by the virus, even more people expressed a desire for a happy Christmas – 80 percent in Italy and 77 percent in the United Kingdom.

In order to distinguish out, merchants must provide more than just discounts

Despite this pent-up demand, many consumers are cash-strapped, and price will continue to be a big consideration when it comes to holiday shopping.

Discounts, on the other hand, will be insufficient to entice buyers. “This season, more than ever, discounting is your baseline,” said Nick Carroll, Associate Director of Retail at Mintel Reports UK. “Last year in the UK, we observed that two-thirds of people no longer expect to pay full price for gifts… To break through the congestion, retailers must do more.”

Retailers should strive to provide value in a number of ways. Following are a few examples:

  • Curbside pickup is available.
  • Commitments for the long haul
  • Credit that may be modified
  • Flexible return on investment

– Practices that ensure the workplace’s cleanliness and safety

Shapes of Timelines Have You Changed Your Holiday Shopping Season

Customers are progressively spending sooner than Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, which used to be the emphasis of holiday marketing. The Amazon effect may have had a role in this evolution.

“Prime Day has entirely rewritten the plan and thrown our calendar into disarray,” DeSalva said. Target, Walmart, Wayfair, and other major retailers retaliated by staging their own sales events around the same time in October as Prime Day.

In addition, the pandemic will change conventional purchasing behaviors. Because many individuals may not be traveling for Thanksgiving or Halloween, they may choose to shift their buying habits and begin their Christmas shopping early.

Retailers are rewarded as well for spacing out the Christmas rush. Due to health concerns, more people are purchasing online, yet this development places extra logistical demands on businesses. Encourage customers to spread their purchases out over a longer period of time to make it simpler for retailers to process orders and ensure that online purchases arrive on time.

It is expected that consumer buying patterns would change. Because people’s finances have become so jumbled, what they purchase this year will be different.

Despite the fact that many customers are suffering, Carroll says that a tiny group of individuals will have more money to spend in 2020, including “those who are lucky enough to stay in secure jobs and decrease other expenses related to travel and restaurants.”

As a result, establishments on either end of the spectrum — both high-end luxury merchants and low-cost discounters — may do well, while those in the middle may see demand decline.

However, because to the pandemic, a few giving fads are expected to take up this year:

  • Customers may have put off purchasing laptops and wireless headphones earlier in the season in the hopes of obtaining a good price during the Christmas sales.
  • At-home leisure and entertainment include virtual cooking instruction, puzzles, and DIY spa treatments.

Gift certificates for products that give health benefits, such as active clothes or shoes that can be worn while working from home and exercising, are likely to be popular. Despite their reputation for being bland and impersonal, gift cards will have even more appeal this year since they are so easy to get online. Gift cards are also an excellent method to help those who are in actual financial need without having to deal with complicated returns or extra trips to the store.

It’s Critical to Pick the Right Marketing Tone

Marketers must tread cautiously this year in order to strike the right tone and stand out amid the sea of holiday commercials. Advertising a “COVID-19 clearance sale” may not be the best marketing technique for stores, according to DeSalva.

Merchants should instead focus on the following messaging:

  • Personalization, warmth, and empathy
  • Customers are encouraged to celebrate, remain in touch with loved ones, and show they care, even if they are unable to attend in person.
  • Gives consumers something to look forward to Recognizes and appreciates the value of key employees.
  • Customers can be certain that the stores are clean and safe, and that their orders will arrive on time.

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