Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

As the fall season approaches and communicators get ready for an uncharted holiday-marketing experience, new research from AI-led merchandising and personalized experiences firm Qubit sheds light on changing shopper habits and reveals what brands can expect during the upcoming holiday shopping season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

“Our survey data shows that shopper behavior has changed radically since the pandemic spread globally and will continue to look different during the 2020 holiday season,” said Graham Cooke, CEO and founder of Qubit, in a news release. “Store closures that are not dictated by demand, but rather by the public health crisis, present an unusual scenario for brands, forcing unexpected and massive overhauls of their marketing and digital commerce strategies this year.”

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

“The survey data also supports our view that a permanent shift in the balance of online and in-store shopping is occurring and is not likely to revert back entirely to pre-COVID-19 levels,” Cooke added. “Retailers are now forced to implement an expedited roadmap to their digital future or face extinction.”

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

Some of the insights in the survey reveal consumer sentiment towards present-day shopping realities:

  • 1 in 2 consumers currently do more than 75 percent of all their shopping online; 1 in 4 do more than 90 percent of their shopping online
  • More than 50 percent of consumers are shopping more with grocery brands, followed by fashion, and beauty and cosmetics
  • Loyalty is decreasing with almost 40 percent of consumers (36.6 percent) stating they now shop with more brands than they did a year ago; 46.2 percent of consumers say they are less loyal to the brands they love

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

The survey also gauged consumer attitudes towards the upcoming holiday shopping season and whether respondents’ shopping behavior and spending will change in the future compared to years past:

  • 35.1 percent of shoppers said they’ll shop online more than they did before the pandemic; meanwhile, just 10.6 percent of shoppers said they will do less shopping online than they did prior to the pandemic
  • 44 percent of respondents plan to shop more online during this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas holidays as compared to last year’s holiday season
  • Less than 30 percent of consumers feel comfortable returning to stores, with 36.1 percent saying they plan to return in two months and 18.9 percent of consumers returning in 2021

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

The survey was conducted in July 2020 with 809 respondents located in the U.S. and U.K.

Retail PR, the rapid shift in shopper behavior, and looming impact on 2020 holiday shopping

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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