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four methods consumers have modified for the reason that pandemic started

Shoppers climb and descend an escalator at Willow Grove Park Mall in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania on November 14, 2020.

Mark Makela | Reuters

As the Christmas shoppers prepare for the festivities, they are preparing for a season that will be noticeably different than it was a year ago.

Big parties with family and friends. Busy shopping malls. A trip to Santa Claus. Maybe even a short break in warm weather. Consumers are again seeing more of these vacation rituals than possible. Almost three in five Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19, and the pace of new coronavirus cases has fallen below the rate of summer, giving people more confidence to return to their vacation traditions.

Even so, not everything will be the same as it was before the Covid strike.

Buyers have developed new habits and new fears have arisen. Factory closures, congested ports and labor shortages can all result in limited gift choices and consumers easily missing out on a toy or gift they were hoping for. Prices could also lead to a sticker shock.

Consumers are likely to swiftly switch between online and in-store shopping, taking full advantage of methods such as roadside collection. (Although on this holiday, convenience – not avoidance of the crowds – will determine the decision.) Stores have largely abandoned stocklessness, but other ways have emerged for insolvent consumers to finance their Christmas shopping.

“Black Friday will be like no other,” Macy CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on a conference call Thursday. “We closed on Thanksgiving, which is a big change from 2019. But we expect our digital business to be very heavily tracked throughout the day … will begin [in stores] at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving. “

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways this Christmas season is likely to be different than it has been in the past:

Slowdown in e-commerce growth

Holiday e-commerce sales are up at least one mid-teens clip year over year as long as Adobe Analytics stays on top of things. That should change this year.

Online sales in the US are expected to grow 10% to $ 207 billion, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index. That’s after a massive pandemic-related increase of 33% last year. Adobe tracks more than 100 million products online across 18 product categories across the web.

“There are a lot of macroeconomic factors at play here … that could drive consumers to switch between online and offline purchases,” said Vivek Pandya, senior analyst at Adobe Digital Insights.

Stories about the supply chain and crowded ports are likely to help more people shop in stores instead of online whenever possible, he said. And after an unprecedented surge in e-commerce spending last Christmas season, it was likely that growth would slow, Pandya added. Still, Adobe predicts that this will be the first public holiday that online spending will surpass the $ 200 billion mark.

Buyers return to the stores

Christmas shoppers search for deals during the Black Friday sales event at the Pentagon Center shopping mall in Arlington, Virginia on November 29, 2019.

Loren Elliott | Reuters

Are you thinking about going to the mall on Black Friday? You’re not alone. Shops will be much busier than they were a year ago as shoppers’ fear of venturing out of the house has eased significantly.

The National Retail Federation said it anticipates nearly 2 million more people will shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber ​​Monday, even though 61% of shoppers have already started buying gifts. The retail group used Prosper Insights & Analytics to survey 7,837 adults from November 1 to 10 about their plans and progress.

On Black Friday, 64% said they expected to go to stores to shop, up from 51% last year, NRF said.

ICSC, a retail organization representing the mall industry, conducted its own survey of 1,005 people September 24-26 and learned that half of US consumers plan to visit more stores to buy gifts this year. In the past year, 45% said they went to shopping malls.

Consumers cited the ability to touch and feel products, get what they want instantly, and finding gift ideas as the main reasons for the trip. More than three quarters of people said they went to shopping centers to have a bite to eat or to use other services in the shopping centers.

“Vaccination rates are improving in some of our regions, and California in particular,” said Jean-Marie Tritant, US president of the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield global shopping mall. “This makes people feel even more comfortable when they return to places where they can meet.”

Buy gifts now, pay later

Confirm the Holdings Inc. website home screen on a laptop computer in an arranged photo taken on Wednesday December 9, 2020 in Little Falls, New Jersey, USA.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gone are the old school days of the layaway. Consumers have a new way to cover the cost of vacation travel: buy now, pay later.

The use of installment payments is expected to gain popularity this holiday season. These services enable a buyer to purchase an item, take it home immediately, and cash out in set increments. Layaway, on the other hand, required a retailer to reserve an item and keep that purchased item for the consumer.

BNPL has become more mainstream as retailers like Macy’s, Walmart and Target do deals with companies like Affirm, Australian Afterpay and Swedish company Klarna.

According to data from Adobe Analytics, “Buy Now, Pay Later” online sales increased 10% this year compared to 2020 and 45% compared to 2019. One in four respondents in an Adobe survey said they had used BNPL plans in the past three months, with apparel, electronics, and groceries being the top three categories.

Summarize memories

Fans attend a concert by recording artist Machine Gun Kelly during a stop on his Tickets to My Downfall tour at The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Wellness days. Dinner in a fancy restaurant. Tickets for a concert.

These gifts are returning to wish lists this year as consumers feel more comfortable around other people and long for experiences they’ve missed.

About 43% of consumers plan to redirect their spending this holiday season to experiences and service gifts, according to a survey by consulting firm Accenture of around 1,500 US consumers in August. This is even higher among the younger generations: 53% of Millennials and 50% of Generation Z say they are switching to more experience spending, the survey found.

Almost 70% of respondents plan to buy the same or more restaurant gift cards this holiday season compared to last year, and 47% plan to buy the same or more beauty products or services as gifts, e.g. B. a manicure.

Travel-related gifts in particular are on the wish list. According to the survey, 40 percent of older millennials – consumers between 32 and 39 – plan to purchase travel vouchers or airline tickets for others during the holiday season.

“There is some catching up to do to get rid of the devil,” said Jill Standish, director of Accenture’s retail group.

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