Salesforce Serves Up Consumer Predictions For The 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

For the past several months, the pandemic has forced many companies to operate at Black Friday levels of efficiency everyday as people move to digital commerce. Throughout Q2 2020, Canadian digital commerce grew by 120% and in Q3 by a further 68%. As we approach the holidays, it is predicted that this year’s COVID-19 shaped holiday shopping season will see a 30 percent spike in global online holiday sales, and 65% of Canadian shoppers who plan to shop will shop online more this year than they did in previous years.

As we enter an unprecedented retail season, Salesforce wanted to share new consumer insights and predictions. The aggregated data used to produce these holiday insights is from the activity of over one billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries, powered by Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud platform and publicly available third party data sources.

Key info includes:

  • Global online holiday sales are predicted to grow 30 percent year-over-year (up from 8 percent growth in 2019)
  • Total digital sales are expected to reach a record high of $940 billion globally 
  • The surge is expected to accelerate digital commerce to 18 percent of total retail sales globally 
  • Overall holiday sales are expected to be flat despite this digital growth, with an expected $5.1 trillion in global holiday sales

FOUR MAJOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING PREDICTIONS FOR 2020

Prediction #1: Fulfillment Concerns Will Overshadow Brandy Loyalty

  • Two converging pressures from traditional carriers are expected to arise from the spike in online orders:

1.       The overall volume of packages that need to make it from a retailer to a customer’s doorstep will likely exceed shipping capacity by five percent globally, potentially delaying up to 700 million holiday packages

2.       Approximately $40-billion of COVID-19 delivery surcharges are expected between November 15 and January 15 globally, as shippers prepare for a massive shift to digital commerce

  • To avoid a fulfillment crunch, retailers are offering alternative pickup options such as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS)

Prediction #2: Holiday Demand Will Start Sooner

  • The combination of Amazon’s Prime Day event in mid-October and consumers eager to ensure their packages arrive on time will lead to an earlier start in the holiday shopping season.
  • This earlier demand is expected to shift up to $26 billion globally to the month of October 
  • Cyber Week digital traffic is still expected to grow by 28 percent year-over-year—a trend accelerated by nearly ubiquitous access from mobile phones and the fact that fewer people will be rushing to stores on Black Friday

Prediction #3: Growth in Online Shopping Means a Spike in Holiday Returns

  • More digital purchases will mean an increase in returned merchandise. In total, $280 billion in online purchases are expected to be returned globally—30 percent of all purchases made
  • Consumers are predicted to engage 30 percent more with service agents this holiday season

Prediction #4: New Consumer Behaviours will Drive Hot Product Categories

  • The rapid change in consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic will drive a different set of top products this year
  • Beauty, electronics and gaming will once again be top holiday spending categories in 2020 but home furnishings and decor, home fitness and toys are among the new leading categories this year

→ Link to the holiday predictions HERE

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