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Gearing Up for the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season A Blast from the Past: Looking Back at the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season 2022 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions How to tap into the Holiday Spirit with Digitally Driven Retail
Gearing Up for the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season
The most awaited holiday shopping season is just around the corner and after a two-year hiatus amidst COVID-19, is finally returning to normalcy. But despite COVID concerns waning, these are replaced by inventory and inflation this year. But that shouldn’t dishearten retailers and brands as most studies anticipate this season to be bigger than the last. Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast anticipates holiday sales to increase 4-6% in 2022 – a big opportunity for brands and retailers to tap into. Deloitte also forecasts eCommerce sales growth of 12.8% to 14.3%, YOY, during the 2022-23 holiday season.
Research also suggests that this holiday season will start early and shoppers are out and about already looking for great deals and holiday inspiration across online and offline platforms. From nostalgia-themed shopping trends to NFT gifting options and holiday gift cards, this holiday season will display a range of shopping themes and emotions and combine age-old traditions and modern, futuristic retailing into one.
A Blast from the Past: Looking Back at the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season
The 2021 holiday season was still grappling with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Although countries had started opening up and physical stores saw a higher footprint, many shoppers were concerned about the Delta variant and preferred shopping online. Let us look at some highlights from the last holiday season that we believe will still apply even today:
- The 2021 holiday retail sales grew by 8.5%, the largest annual increase in sales in 17 years.
- eCommerce saw an 11% increase in sales compared to 2020 and a massive 64.1% increase compared to 2019.
- Prices grew by 6.9% YoY amidst rising inflation and online prices too saw an increase of 3.5% YoY, a cause of concern for holiday shoppers.
- Amidst growing price sensitivity., shoppers’ use of price comparison tools increased by 9% in 2021 as compared to the previous year.
- 57% of consumers planned to shop earlier last year as compared to the year before to avail the best prices and discounts and avoid delivery and fulfillment delays during the prime holiday weeks.
2022 Holiday Shopping Trends & Predictions
As retailers start laying the groundwork for a bustling holiday season, we have put together a list of 2022 holiday shopping predictions that will influence this year’s season. So grab your Pumpkin Spice Latte and get ready for some actionable insights to implement this holiday season:
1. An Extended Holiday Season
Shoppers are planning to shop early this holiday season to find the best deals and avoid shipping delays. The extended holiday season is once again eminent, as per research, with three out of ten consumers having begun shopping in September, and 70% expecting to start before Thanksgiving, as per Jungle Scout. The Black Friday craze is slowly declining since 2015 (with 2020 as an exception) as shoppers are looking at the whole week (Thanksgiving week) or even the month as the holiday shopping month – birthing a new term, ‘Cyber Month’. Deals and discounts are extended beyond 1-2 days across an entire month to keep shoppers interested for longer and make purchases across the season. Retailers need to take note of this Christmas shopping trend today and get their stores in order before the holiday shopping wave hits them.
2. Omni-channel will Rule
Since the onset of the pandemic, eCommerce growth has been unprecedented. Although many consumers are returning to physical stores or malls this holiday season, the BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and curb-side pick-up methods will still remain highly popular and will be preferred for their convenience and speed. In fact, 42% of U.S. and U.K. shoppers said they will leave a site with limited shipping options or if they don’t have a BOPIS option. Another important factor would be flexible returns policies with 35% of shoppers expressing disappointment with restrictive returns policies.
Ramping up both online and in-store presence and having a complete, unified view of available inventory across channels will help brands and retailers fulfill demand wherever it arises.
3. Creative Fulfillment Options will go a Long Way
For what will largely be an omnichannel holiday season with eCommerce, social commerce driving a lot of sales; retailers are finding innovative ways to improve and optimize their fulfillment options. With inventory woes affecting retail this year, retailers are using trend forecasting solutions and planning their inventory in advance to avoid stockouts and fulfillment delays at the prime of the holiday season. Many retailers are planning to set up dark stores by converting their physical stores located in multiple areas into fulfillment centers or setting up additional fulfillment centers. This will help them process orders faster and more efficiently due to their geographic proximity to different ZIP codes, additional manpower, and inventory availability. Furthermore, investing in supply chain solutions and partnering with the right, local delivery partners will help ensure smooth fulfillment this holiday season.
4. Price Sensitivity will Ensure Best Prices Win
Low prices will once again dominate this holiday season as shoppers hunt for the best deals online amidst economic instability. According to 84.51°’s 2022 holiday outlook, over half (57%) of shoppers are looking for sales, deals, and coupons more often as inflation leads to price rises. Retailers could leverage advanced pricing solutions to match their prices against competitors and understand audience demographics, shopper preferences, and competitor prices to offer the most competitive prices, promotions, and personalized discounts across all channels.
5. Social Media & Metaverse will Influence Shopper Behavior
Social commerce will be a big contributor to sales this holiday season, with almost half of the consumers (48%) likely to purchase from TikTok and Instagram directly. Retailers and brands who have already leveraged these channels and have a strong social presence can benefit greatly from the social commerce trend. Research suggests that 87% of Gen Z shoppers will turn to social media for holiday gift inspiration, making social presence and content very important. Another hot item in the market comes straight out of the metaverse. 46% of shoppers are open to the idea of buying NFTs – non-fungible tokens or digital collectibles as gifting options. Brands and retailers will drop new NFTs this holiday season and test the waters with digital art and digital twins (a digital version of a physical item), highly popular amongst Gen Z consumers. Salesforce predicts that the number of NFTs purchased from brands and retailers will reach around half a mullion between November and December this year.
6. Forecasting and Planning for Inventory in Advance will Pay Off
With product shortages hitting every industry across the globe, retailers need to anticipate demand and better prepare for the upcoming holiday season. They need to analyze shopper behavior, historic demand patterns, and holiday trends to forecast and plan for inventory to avoid last-minute shortages. Partnering with vendors at every stage allows the retail supply to operate better. In addition, empowering your warehouse teams with technology to map inventory across fulfillment centers is another way to ensure the right inventory is available at the right time and place.
Tapping into the Holiday Spirit with Digitally Driven Retail
ThiThis holiday season, make your customers happy and your business a raging success by incorporating data, analytics, and technology into your retail strategy. Your holiday sales are going to be driven by digital commerce and so should your strategy. Harness the power of retail technology to understand your customers, plan your inventory, improve your fulfillment, offer competitive prices, and give your customers a personalized and seamless shopping experience.
About the Author :
Intelligence Node is an advanced analytics platform that enables your retail business with a data-driven pricing, assortment, inventory, and digital shelf strategy that has a direct impact on conversions and profitability. Discover more with a demo.