What's New

Our experts share industry and business news, marketing trends and the latest digital marketing solutions.

Predictions and trends for the 2020 holiday shopping season

Predictions and trends for the 2020 holiday shopping season

November 11, 2020 | By Amber Aldrich

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that COVID-19 has no respect for our plans and traditions. With cases again on the rise, any expectation of a normal holiday has gone out the window. Public safety regulations have increased, holiday gatherings are being downsized or canceled, and we are all left wondering what the future holds.

One universal sentiment, however, is that joy is needed now more than ever. While holiday gatherings are likely to be canceled, gift giving remains one way to spread joy and connect with loved ones near and far.

While modest, holiday spending is still expected to increase this year. According to real estate firm CBRE, retailers will see growth of less than 2% year over year this holiday season, compared to 4.1% growth on average over the last decade (RetailDive, October 2020). While economic challenges create spending burdens for some, others find themselves with more disposable income to spend on holiday gifting, creating a mixed bag of buying patterns this year.

For those who do buy, there’s no question that growth in digital shopping will be significant. According to the National Retail Federation, 71% will do some shopping online and 47% of shoppers will buy exclusively online. Growth in e-commerce, and social shopping in particular, will mean many buyers will be exposed to new brands in 2020, a promising trend for retailers using digital marketing to reach new audiences. More than 50% of consumers purchased from brands and retailers that were new to them during the pandemic. That shopping pattern is expected to persist this holiday season — and beyond, particularly for older audiences who may not have shopped online prior to COVID-19.

Another positive trend for local business is that consumers have a desire to support local. A Seattle Times survey in May found that 89% of readers were just as likely or more likely to shop from a local business this holiday season. According to Facebook, 60% of consumers who switched to new businesses reported they have started purchasing from new local small businesses (source: IPSOS, July 2020 for Facebook).

The takeaway for local businesses? Keep marketing this holiday season, with digital marketing being crucial to the mix. Keep consumers feeling safe while shopping, and keep the fact that you’re local front and center in your marketing messages.

After all, gift giving AND supporting local businesses spreads joy, a formula we all need this holiday season.

Amber Aldrich is Senior Director of Advertising for Seattle Times Media Solutions. See the full webinar on 2020 Trends for the Holiday Shopping Season here.

Back to Top