From mass job losses to not seeing family and friends for months on end, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed people to their limits in 2020.
As an incredibly difficult year draws to a close, people are starting to accept that this festive season will be anything but typical. But while a portion of consumers have reined in their spending due to financial uncertainty, others are spreading Christmas cheer by indulging in gifts for their loved ones.
The graphic below from Raconteur explores how consumers’ festive spending in the US and UK has changed as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
Will the shift trigger permanent changes in the retail industry?
Festive Budget Breakdown
According to creative agency Kinetic, half of all UK adults surveyed believe this Christmas is more important than ever before, with that figure rising to three quarters for 18-34 year olds.
However, given consumers’ concerns over the future of the economy, they are expected to reduce spending during the festive season. In the US for example, spending will decline by 7% per household.
When it comes to how consumers plan to spend their hard-earned cash, some interesting insights emerge. As many have saved significantly on socialising and travel—which is down 34% year-on-year—they plan to put this money towards items for themselves instead of gifts and gift cards for others. These items include clothes, at-home entertainment, and home furnishings.
It therefore comes as little surprise that the global online home décor market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 13% between 2020-2024 with revenue of over $80 billion.
Dampening the Christmas Spirit?
Unsurprisingly, over half of all consumers are anxious about shopping in-store this holiday season. The vast majority have health and safety concerns, with 71% being the most worried about dealing with others who aren’t taking the virus seriously. This is closely followed by being around, or too close to others in stores.
Therefore, when it comes to physical shopping, people feel more comfortable in local stores or at outdoor markets and much less so in shopping malls.
Safety in Online Shopping
Considering this change in mindset, almost 60% of UK consumers said that they will be shopping online more this Christmas.
But while ecommerce sales are expected to spike over Christmas, delivery speeds and shipping delays are also major concerns for consumers. As a result, many of them started their shopping much earlier this year to avoid disappointment. In fact, over half of all UK shoppers had started their Christmas shopping before November had even arrived.
Bidding Adieu to 2020
The end to a painful year for many can’t come soon enough. But boarded-up shopfronts, and “for sale” signs serve as a harsh reminder of the fragility of the retail sector and its reliance on consumer sentiment.
Even as we march forward guided by the hope of an effective vaccine, the future of retail remains uncertain. For consumers, their confidence will build once more, but how they choose to spend their money following the festive season will be more important for businesses and the economy than ever before.