Redefining the Holiday Shopping Season


The 2020 Holiday shopping season will likely see continued shifts in consumer spending from in-store to online, as well as retailers launching “Black Friday” sales earlier than past Q4s. While we have seen similar trends in previous years—the impacts of COVID-19 will accelerate these changes. Below are some trends that we anticipate will have impacts on Q4 retail in 2020.

More than ever, this year, consumers will be spending more money online than in-store:

  • Traditional Holiday events will not be the same in 2020. The Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a TV-only event, with no bystanders on the sidelines cheering. Mall Santas and Tree Lighting Ceremonies will also see significant changes or will not occur at all. These types of events were originally put in place to help drive foot traffic and not being able to utilize them this year will lead to a decrease in in-store shopping. (CNN)
  • With COVID’s prevalence, retailers have adjusted their in-store procedures to suppress crowds. Of course, Black Friday sales usually bring many people out on Thanksgiving Day and the day after. To avoid these crowds retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target have confirmed they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (AdAge)
  • eMarketer is predicting a double digital increase in online sales this year (+18%). About 50% of U.S. Adults also said they were more interested in shopping online for the holidays compared to last year (eMarketer)

Companies are also looking to extend holiday sales wherever they can:

  • As was the case in 2019, Thanksgiving Day lands in the last week of November, meaning there is one less week of traditional holiday shopping for consumers between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Of course, an easy way to lengthen the life of holiday shopping, is to launch sales before Thanksgiving, which has been an ongoing trend for the last few years.
  • Amazon Prime Day has been confirmed for 10/13. In previous years, this event has taken plan in mid-July. Now that it falls in Q4, brands will want to announce their own sales leading into that sales window in order to combat Amazon’s own promotion. (CNet)
  • A new October holiday, 10.10, has been announced to bring holiday shopping up into October to help manage the increase in demands, and to combat Amazon’s Prime Day. This 10.10 holiday is being modeled after China’s key seasonal holiday in Q4. (Bloomberg)