The Ghosts of Retail Christmas Past: What Can They Tell Us About This Year?

 

Even with a global pandemic, the past five years have shown us that shoppers are predictable—and that’s reassuring for retailers as they prepare for the 2021 holiday season. November and December sales during this five-year period have held steady, accounting for more than 19% of overall annual retail sales.

 

But what else can we learn from the ghosts of Christmas past?

 

Earlier than ever

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. These are shopping pillar dates for retailers, who are right now making preparations by creating flexible packaging and retail merchandising products to showcase products and promote pricing.

 

Something interesting happened last year. Black Friday e-commerce sales actually decreased by 5% year-over-year. We might think that the global pandemic should have pushed things dramatically in the opposite direction.

 

But, if you rewind the clock and take a look at holiday-related shopping for the three weeks of November 2020 leading up to Black Friday, you’ll see that e-commerce sales had a robust year-over-year growth rate of more than 7%.

 

What’s that telling us? Shoppers may be flocking to e-commerce solutions for the holidays, but they’re also wary of shipping delays. Statistics show that more than 700M holiday packages were at risk of not being delivered in time last year. To the extent that it’s possible, expect consumers to return to physical stores as post-COVID confidence increases.

 

 

Nostalgia is a potent driver shopping behavior

Retail spending statistics show that we’ve all become comfortable with shopping online. While some of us prefer it to the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping at physical stores, many still want that in-person experience and will return to it when we can.

 

Criteo, a global leader in e-commerce marketing solutions, recently asked US consumers how comfortable they felt about certain upcoming shopping activities.

  • 64% said they miss going to physical stores.
  • 65% are already or will be comfortable going to shopping malls by mid-October.
  • 88% say they plan to continue purchasing gifts online and sending them to recipients.

Even with 24- or 48-hour delivery guarantees, nothing beats the instant gratification of in-store shopping. Retailers can expect to see a surge of this as post-COVID shoppers seek to reconnect with nostalgic behaviors.

 

What’s this telling us? Beefing up point-of-purchase displays to promote pricing and features is going to be just as important as providing a seamless shopping experience online. Statistics already show that this is a winning combination for retailers, as click-and-collect revenue continues to outperform estimates. The ability to start online and finish the shopping experience in a physical store is a powerful solution.

 

With a year of extreme online buying under their belts, shoppers have begun to rely on buying certain consumables that way. It’s unlikely they’ll go back. There’s still plenty of opportunity to delight holiday shoppers with an in-store experience, and as you’ve read, many expect to do that this year.

 

We can help you with your holiday merchandising and flexible packaging—especially price tag holders. Talk to us about how we can help you make a connection. With more than 40 years of experience, we can advise you on exactly what will work best for the customer base you serve.

 

 


We’d love to connect with you!

Contact the Vinyl Art Team at 1-800-569-1304 or sales@vinylart.com