You may know the supply chain issues that affect many retailers and the wisdom to shop for some items sooner rather than later, but there are other developments afoot. Consumers should expect these seven shopping trends this holiday season.
The Christmas shopping season is just around the corner. And if you go shopping this year instead of opting for digital, virtual, or experiential gifts, it pays to shop strategically.
You may know the supply chain issues that affect many retailers and the wisdom to shop for some items sooner rather than later, but there are other developments afoot. Consumers should expect these seven shopping trends this holiday season:
– A more exciting shopping experience.
– November: a month of Black Fridays.
– Smaller discounts.
– More curb service.
– Consumers are happy to receive gifts of experience.
– Supply chain problems as a marketing tool.
– The stores can stay pretty full.
[READ: The Best Time to Buy Everything.]
A more exciting shopping experience
Expect more shoppers in the malls and stores this year. For many people who are vaccinated, it certainly seems likely.
Wei-Chung Wang, a professor of business administration at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, believes online shopping will be robust but that brick and mortar stores will be busy this holiday season.
“People have been longing for the festivities of the holiday season since the last holiday season was a flop. If anything, I assume we’ll have a more fanatical shopping spree on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, ”says Wang.
November: a month of Black Fridays
This has been a trend for a while, but it’s even more important for stores to start offering deals now as shoppers start their Christmas shopping earlier than usual due to fears in the supply chain.
“I expect major retailers to start selling as early as October, similar to last year,” said Gina Pomponi, president and COO of Bluewater Media, a direct marketing and business-to-consumer advertising agency in Clearwater , Florida.
“These sales won’t be limited to in-store purchases,” added Pomponi. “Online sales will lead the fees on vacation retail sales. Or maybe I should say that Amazon will lead the indictment on anyone else trying to catch up. All of this will make Black Friday online deals even more important. “
While there will still be plenty of deals going on over the holidays, you probably won’t see a lot of crazy tees like bouncers where something is 80% off.
This is because of supply chain problems that have driven up business costs and limited the amount that retailers can price goods and still make a profit, according to Teresa McCarthy, associate professor of marketing at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island and a global supply chain expert.
“Consumers can expect Black Friday discounts to be modest compared to previous years. Retailers will either offer smaller percentage discounts or discount a smaller selection of items, ”says McCarthy.
Still, not everything is bad. There are good deals to be found when you have a favorite store that you shop often for.
“Retailers will also turn to their loyalty programs and offer tiered discounts, with the more generous discounts offered to their most loyal customers,” says McCarthy.
[See: 12 Shopping Tricks to Keep You Under Budget.]
More roadside service
Making things as convenient as possible for shoppers is a trend that has been around for some time, especially since the pandemic broke out. Expect it to continue like this, says Trae Bodge, a New York City-based shopping advisor who runs the TrueTrae.com shopping blog.
“Retailers will try to make shopping as convenient as possible for customers,” says Bodge.
While we probably won’t see drones dropping off packages just yet, “listings will be available both online and in-store, and more stores will offer services like roadside pickup,” says Bodge.
“As consumers shop earlier – to avoid delivery delays and inventory issues – I also expect more retailers to offer price adjustments and buy now and pay for services like Afterpay later, which is like the new layaway to me,” she says.
Consumers are happy to receive special gifts
It is very attractive to give away experiences as opposed to material things. “Experience gifts have become increasingly popular over the years, especially as the pandemic has kept people crouching for the holidays,” said Kristen Gall, a spokeswoman for the cash-back website Rakuten.
As examples, she cites a language learning program such as Babbel or Rosetta Stone as popular gift ideas for experiences. You might want to give your kids or a niece of a nephew an educational experience like We Craft Box, a monthly craft kit for kids ages 3 to 9, or Spangler Science Club, a monthly subscription box of interactive science experiments for all ages.
“Short vacations are also trendy ideas,” says Gall.
The not-so-great part about this is that most of Gall’s experience suggestions are monthly subscriptions, which means you’ll be taxing your bank account for the months or years to come. But the great thing is that you are unlikely to run into supply chain issues when handing someone a package at a bed and breakfast.
Supply chain problems as a marketing tool
It can’t happen, but we should be careful, suggests Wang.
He says retailers will do whatever they can to capitalize on the upcoming holiday season and that “they are capitalizing on consumer fear of not wanting to miss the shopping season, especially in the year after the pandemic”.
“Expect merchants to manipulate the ads and discounts to create a sense of urgency for Christmas shopping. This is a perfect opportunity for the dealers to remove the less popular items from their inventory, ”says Wang.
So keep an eye out for manipulative ads. “Identify what you really need and don’t settle for things that don’t fit your bill for fear of missing out,” says Wang. “The idea of avoiding impulse purchases is always relevant, but could be more relevant this year, as we see the interplay of several events that support the shopping mania.”
[Read: Inside the Psychology of Overspending and How to Stop.]
Stores can be kept pretty well sorted
After all that alert about supply chain issues, don’t be surprised if all goes well. When it comes to her Christmas shopping predictions, McCarthy is no Scrooge.
“Many larger retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Costco and Ikea have charted entire ocean freighters instead of trying to secure container capacity on another carrier’s ship,” says McCarthy.
However, you may remember to watch news of ships stuck in ports. That’s a big problem for many retailers and corporations, but McCarthy says another benefit of big companies that charter cargo ships is that they can bypass bottlenecks in major ports of entry like Long Beach, Los Angeles and Savannah where there is backlog consists of 60 ships waiting in line to be unloaded.
“The ships chartered by retailers use smaller ports for unloading. These smaller ports typically take longer to unload and process containers, but the delay is much shorter than the several days to weeks delays that occur in the main ports, ”says McCarthy.
Many brands not as big as Walmart, for example – think Nordstrom, Gap, Kohls, and Lululemon – can fly goods to the US and bypass the ports, according to McCarthy.
Unfortunately, McCarthy says: “Air freight is eight to ten times more expensive than ocean freight and is therefore only feasible for higher-margin goods such as clothing and computers.”
That’s the kind of factor that can constrain heavily discounted goods.
But if McCarthy is right, at least there will be plenty of items on the shelves, and she also believes she can look forward to lots of post-sale sales.
“For those who can wait through January, expect some very big discounts as retailers try to clear out late-arriving inventory,” says McCarthy.
More from US news
The cheapest shipping options
35 Ways To Save Money
10 Ways To Save $ 5,000 This Year
Shopping trends to watch this holiday season originally appeared on usnews.com