Both retailers and consumers predict the festive season to be full of discounts and e-commerce. But will it also be the usual peak time for retail? There is low confidence in having a sales boost this Christmas.
Like every year, Capgemini asked thousands of international consumers and traders what they expect from the upcoming festive season. It seems that due to the uncertainty of the corona crisis, expectations are harder to predict than usual, but researchers can distinguish a few trends.
For example, there is a strong sense of having an "online Christmas": 49 per cent of shoppers expect to shop more online this year. Retailers are counting on this as 93 per cent of them have already taken steps to strengthen their online assortment. Half have improved their website or e-commerce channel, 34 per cent have already proactively increased online capacity, and 21 per cent have introduced new virtual shopping experiences. All this happened even before the current second lockdowns in Europe, Capgemini points out.
Fewer impulse purchases
However, the impact is expected to be the highest in the United States as only 27 per cent of seasonal purchases are expected to be made in-store. Last year that was 42 per cent. Those who do go to actual stores will, in 33 per cent of the cases, only go once they know what they want. A third of the shoppers also do (online) research before heading out. These figures mainly indicate that impulse buying will fall, a trend we will also notice in Europe.
This year, consumers prioritize essentials: 44 per cent of those surveyed prefers to buy essential goods for others or themselves rather than gifts (35 per cent) or treats (21 per cent). A mere 18 per cent plans to buy luxury goods, although there is a noticeable gap: around 40 per cent of younger people (18 - 34 year of age) say they have put money aside to spend during Black Friday, and almost a quarter of high-income consumers predict to spend more this year. Still, only 14 per cent of consumers worldwide expect to spend more than usual during Black Friday this year. Over one-third plans to spend less, mainly because their disposable income is lower (43 per cent).
As a result, retailers do not know what to expect. Less than half anticipate an increase in sales this year. Yet retailers are doing everything they can to attract customers: 78 per cent plans to offer larger discounts, while a third will offer specific online sales and outlet products. More than half fear supply chain disruptions caused by the corona pandemic. One in three also openly admits to not being able to plan properly due to the current uncertainty.