As a result of the pandemic, 2020 was a tremendous year for e-commerce growth. At times, online ordering and fulfillment was the only channel open for both brands and consumers—and shopping will never be the same as a result, according to new research from omnichannel operations management firm Radial.
While brands may be concerned about consumer spending plans as the pandemic continues, the firm’s latest consumer insights study found that 65 percent of shoppers surveyed plan to spend the same amount or more compared to 2020. This means the upcoming holiday season will be as busy as ever—with consumers now confidently interacting and purchasing through multiple channels—especially online.
But brick-and-mortar stores will see plenty of traffic as well
In fact, 50 percent of shoppers claimed that COVID-19 has influenced them to shop even more online. Nearly half of respondents said they plan on increasing their usage of new shopping options like buy online, pick up in store this holiday season. However, this uptick doesn’t mean brick-and-mortar stores won’t be busy—the data revealed that 45 percent of consumers do plan to shop the same amount in store as 2020.
“This year’s survey shows us that in-store shopping is still alive and well despite the pandemic, but consumers are showing more preference and confidence in using other channels as they’ve been forced to drastically adjust how they shop over the last year,” said Laura Ritchey, chief operating officer at Radial, in a news release.
“What we’re seeing this holiday season is high demand distributed across online, in-store, curbside, buy online, pick up in-store, and other emerging channels,” she added. “The reason there is such a mix of purchasing options comes down to convenience for the consumer and product availability. Consumers are getting used to going in-store to browse but buying online due to convenience of home delivery or out-of-stocks in-store. Brands that have developed and optimized their omnichannel strategies during the pandemic will be better positioned to serve customers regardless of the channel they are shopping in this holiday season.”
With another busy holiday season ahead, brands need to prepare for the holidays now
The 2021 data revealed that 57 percent of consumers plan to shop earlier compared to 2020. Additionally, eight in 10 shoppers claim that if brands start offering deals before Black Friday they will shop sooner. For one in five respondents that means as early as August.
With e-commerce demands and consumer expectations rising, brands need to focus on omnichannel e-commerce operations as the primary channel of choice for shoppers and aim to drive satisfaction with timely order deliveries. Shoppers may have relaxed their expectations around delivery timelines due to the strains of the pandemic last year, but those feelings are changing.
The 2020 survey found that only 14 percent of respondents expected their holiday gifts within two days, whereas nearly a quarter of shoppers (23 percent) surveyed in 2021 expect their items to arrive within two to three days. Most consumers (45 percent) agree three to five days is a reasonable time frame for delivery of holiday gifts and fewer than a quarter think one week is reasonable. Less than 10 percent of consumers find more than one week acceptable.
Radial surveyed 1,000 adults across the United States to determine their holiday shopping plans.