What to expect for holiday shopping this year?
The health context has greatly affected consumer buying habits. Endless queues outside stores and social distancing have forced people to turn to e-commerce and home delivery. As one of our studies published this spring shows, e-commerce in Quebec has jumped 118% since the start of the pandemic in March. The question now arises: what will the holidays, the biggest shopping period of the year, look like?
The holiday season alone sometimes represents up to 65% of the annual revenues of Quebec retailers. How will these companies be able to adapt to the changing user journey in order to maintain the same level of sales as before?
Concretely, in-store sales will continue to exist, however, the portion of revenue associated with them will most likely decrease in favor of online sales. Before going to stores, users will get into the habit of doing more research to limit their trips. Users will pay particular attention to the price and especially to the availability of products in outlets. We will see more educated consumers about in-store products and reduced shopping times.
Current Canadian consumer behavior in numbers:
- 77% of consumers plan to consolidate their purchases in order to have fewer trips.
- 65% of consumers spend less time in stores than usual.
- 58% of consumers look for their product or promotion online before showing up in store
- 59% of Canadian consumers plan to confirm their purchase online before going to the stores.
- 34% of consumers look online for the best product and if it is available in store.
- 33% of Canadian consumers say social distancing makes shopping in stores more difficult.
- 20% of consumers look at all possible ways to collect their purchases without entering stores.
- 18% will look at traffic before entering the store.
- 31% of Canadian consumers plan to buy more gift cards than last year.
(Source: Google Commissioned Ipsos Covid-19 tracker, June 25-28 & Google Holiday Insights October 2020)
In order to adapt its marketing strategy to this transformation of consumer behavior, certain elements must be taken into consideration.
If you've ordered online in the last few months, you've probably suffered from the delivery time. According to the Journal de Montréal , nearly 40% of Canada Post deliveries have been delayed in recent months. This data is worrying in the current context and will definitely have an impact on Christmas shopping, where informed consumers will be ahead of the game to make their purchases online.
The delivery period is all the more impacted when the products come from outside Canada. Following this problem, major delivery companies such as Canada Post, FedEx, Intelcom, UPS and Purolator recently announced the suspension of their delivery guarantees.
“Canada Post's on-time delivery guarantee is therefore suspended until further notice. Private companies FedEx, UPS and Purolator have done the same for all or part of their services.
Source: Protect Yourself
The new border security rules, delivery times and collective awareness of the importance of encouraging the local economy will encourage more Quebecers to buy local. Quebec retailers who manage to showcase their available inventory in real time will certainly have a head start on the competition.
Have you tried shopping for new products in the past few months? If so, you may not have found the color or size you want. This is completely normal, as our retailers' supply system is also affected by the repercussions of the pandemic. The various consumers are now aware of this new reality and will get ahead of the game this year to make sure they find the products they want.
We're already starting to see trends emerging in terms of bringing holiday shopping ahead of schedule. As the chart below shows, searches related to holiday shopping are up 190% year over year.
Consumers seek by all possible means to avoid entering stores. This is why, over the past few months, we have witnessed the emergence of BOPIS, a hybrid option between buying online and in stores. This way of shopping allows consumers to escape the costs and delays associated with delivery.
If you are a retailer, we strongly recommend that you offer in-store pickup to stay competitive, and of course communicate this on your website and through your media initiatives.
If you are curious to know more about the adaptation of stores to the new reality of consumers, we suggest you read about the case of Walmart , which is currently proceeding to revise the design of its branches.
The conclusion of all this? Get ready earlier this year, and think about analyzing your users' behavior. We live in a new reality that is here to stay.
If you have industry-specific questions, contact us sooner rather than later .