Retail Trends

Omnichannel retailers set to benefit most from holiday sales boost

As the holiday season approaches, retailers are anxiously waiting to see whether the sales boom experienced at the end of each year will be repeated in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected all retailers in different ways and consumer behavior has changed. But one thing is clear: those retailers that will do best in the coming months will be those with a well-developed omnichannel strategy.

The International Council of Shopping Centers forecasts that spending in the bellwether US market will increase by 1.9 percent this holiday season, compared to the year-earlier same period. Almost three quarters of US shoppers anticipate spending the same or more than they did last year over the all-important holiday period.

Unsurprisingly, eCommerce is predicted to take a much bigger share of holiday spending this year, and the ICSC forecasts it will increase by 25 percent. Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC, said:

“We expect to see an increase in online shopping activity which means that those retailers that have implemented an aggressive omnichannel strategy will likely do well during the holiday season.”

More shoppers will opt for ommichannel fulfillment options, such as Click and Collect (Bopis) and curbside pickup, which have gained in popularity this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions. According to the ICSC, 53 percent of US shoppers will choose these alternatives during the holiday period.

Despite the accelerations in online shopping, the stores will still draw crowds during the peak shopping season. That’s because, according to the ICSC, the brick-and-mortar shopping experience is highly valued by shoppers for several reasons:

  • 40 percent cite a desire to see and touch products;
  • 38 percent prefer the immediacy of brick-and-mortar purchases;
  • 33 percent say they go to a physical store to get better prices or sales.

Reflecting the times we live in, 66 percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to visit stores that have strict Covid-19 safety and social distancing measures in place.

Some things never change, however. With Black Friday on the horizon, retailers know that deals and promotions will be as important as ever in getting customers to visit their stores, whether physical or online.

The ICSC survey found that 80 percent of shoppers say deals play a role in their holiday purchases and 25 percent say sales give them an incentive to spend more.

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