Holiday shopping season off to early start due to coronavirus pandemic

Holiday Shopping Trends

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The holiday shopping deals have arrived a bit earlier this year, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a big reason why.

Consulting firm AlixPartners said the traditional November to December holiday season is meaningless this year.

Alexa Driansky, head of market insight for retail, said the pandemic amplified and accelerated changes already in place. An example of this is consumer behaviors shifting with the pandemic. After all, they had to when many places temporarily closed.

Driansky said right now, consumers don’t want to wait in long lines for doorbuster deals.

Companies like Amazon kicked off mega sales and other companies have followed. She added this early shopping season is brought on by the push from retailers to have mega sales earlier in the season and the pull from consumers.

“Here at AlixPartners, we believe that the holiday season forevermore is going to start in October," Driansky said. "We called this several years ago when holiday sales started happening prior to Black Friday. We saw the diminishing importance of Black Friday with other big sales throughout the month of November that we called Black November, but now with all these retails posting mega sales in October, there is no way retailers aren’t going to continue to pump that year after year.”

Survey results from AlixPartners show people plan to shop earlier because they’re concerned about their health and safety waiting in line for a good deal.

Not only are the holiday shopping deals arriving early, but there’s an even bigger push for online sales this year.

According to AlixPartners, 45% of Americans plan on doing most of their holiday shopping online, which is up 15 percentage points from last year. And the online shopping demand might not go anywhere.

“However we also survey them to ask ‘Do you expect to continue the same rate of shopping online after the holiday season for everyday essentials?’ and what was surprising is 85 percent of consumers said they plan to continue or increase the amount of shopping they are doing online after the holiday season,"' Driansky said.

AlixPartners' results found is just over 20% of consumers expect to spend less on holiday shopping than last year.

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