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BizReport : Ecommerce : July 13, 2020

Reports: What merchants can expect from 2020 holiday season

There are only six months until Christmas and that means only about 2 months remain for merchants and brands to be shopper-ready for the holiday season. And, according to one new study, what consumers are looking for this year is a safe way to shop in-store.

by Kristina Knight

Radial has polled consumers to see what their plans are for the upcoming holiday season and among the more interesting findings is this: 63% say they are 'more likely to purchase' from retailers and brands that are following COVID-19 safety protocols in-store. Those wants, coupled with consumers who have turned to ecommerce more over the past three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, means merchants need to be ready for shoppers both in-store and online.

"The 2020 holiday season will reward omnichannel retailers. Instead of the recurring and seasonal demand cycles retailers are used to, in the wake of COVID-19, brands must contend with consistent high demand for ecommerce year-round. This year, peak season levels essentially started in March," said Tim Hinckley, Chief Commercial Officer, Radial. "Retailers must leverage unique strategies like using stores as fulfillment centers and creative order management techniques paired with advanced technology in order to keep deliveries flowing by embracing curbside pickup and other emerging consumer expectations."

Other interesting findings from the Radial study include:

▪ 66% of shoppers say they will increase online purchasing for the holiday season
▪ 41% say they won't shop earlier than in the past despite shipping delays in response to COVID-19
▪ 39% say they will start holiday shopping in October

Meanwhile, according to the National Retail Federation imports have begun to trend back up, but are still down YoY. In May the Global Port Tracker noted that imports were down nearly 5% from April 2020 to May 2020 and down about 17% YoY. But, looking forward to later this summer and into the busier fall months, the tracker forecasts an increase of about 1% for imports. That is because the decreases haven't been quite as high as expected. For example, experts believed imports would be down for the year by 10%, but overall imports have been down only about 9%.

"Economic indicators show that the recession brought on by the pandemic may be easing, but retailers are being conservative with the amount of merchandise they import this year," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. "The outlook for imports is slowly improving, but these are still some of the lowest numbers we've seen in years."

More data from the NRF can be accessed here.

Tags: 2020 holiday ecommerce, ecommerce, ecommerce trends, NRF, Radial

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