LONDON — Holiday season is not canceled yet.
New research titled “2020 Holiday Season: Navigating Shopper Behaviors in the Pandemic” from Periscope by McKinsey & Co., the firm’s data and analytics-driven solutions arm, shows that Black Friday will still be the biggest shopping event this holiday season despite the changes in consumer shopping behavior and the second COVID-19 lockdowns taking place in Europe.
Brian Ruwadi, senior partner and global leader of Periscope By McKinsey, said, “The holiday shopping season in Europe has been thrown a curveball. Retailers need to course-correct their holiday strategies and empathize with consumer disappointment and elevated anxiety levels.
“The focus should be on recalibrating supply chains and introducing new omnichannel browsing experiences, to cater for changes in restrictions. Globally, we are seeing holiday emotions and behaviors follow the curve of the pandemic. The savvy retailers will be preempting changes based on the predicted infection rate,” he added.
While consumers across the globe plan to reduce holiday spending, with China as the only exception, three-quarters of 3,500 holiday shoppers surveyed in China, France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. said they intend to take part in at least one of the season’s major shopping events.
Leading the pack is Black Friday at 55 percent, followed by Amazon Prime Day at 43 percent, Cyber Monday at 39 percent, pre-Christmas sales at 38 percent, and Singles Day at 26 percent.
Almost half of the respondents said they intended to begin shopping earlier, with holiday shoppers in the U.K. most likely to get a head start and those in France least likely.
Market research firm eMarketer said Wednesday that retail e-commerce holiday season sales will reach $36.38 billion, up 16.7 percent over last year, and account for a substantial 32.2 percent of total U.K. holiday sales in 2020, while brick-and-mortar shopping will plunge by 19 percent to $76.63 billion.
Some 45 percent of research respondents planned to browse in stores, a sharp drop from last year’s 65 percent, and 81 percent of shoppers say they will spend the same or more as last year.
But retailers need to be cautious, as 42 percent of consumer respondents expressed income reduction in 2020, and an average of 24 percent of them are anxious or stressed this year, with much higher levels in the U.S. and the U.K., at 30 percent and 36 percent, respectively, and stunningly low levels in China at 5 percent.
The research also finds that while digital peaks, catalogue browsing is not entirely out. Some 39 percent of respondents said they intended to shop more online during holidays this year. In the U.S., digital adoption is expected to translate into a surge in e-commerce holiday sales growth of at least 19 percent.
The top three channels were retailer web sites, brand web sites and browsing in stores. The most significant in-country difference was France, where looking through catalogues, fliers and newspapers came in at 46 percent. In China, 46 percent said they would turn to social media for research, a channel more popular than in any other region surveyed.