Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of consumers plan to purchase more from small local businesses this holiday season. Almost half of shoppers say they will be willing to shop in-store if retailers offer contactless pay options this winter. Over two-thirds (77%) of consumers want masks to be mandatory at local retailers during the holiday season.
These were the findings of a survey by Sykes, a leading provider of multichannel demand generation and customer engagement services. Sykes’ report was titled ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Retail Markets & Consumer Perceptions Leading into the 2020 Holiday.’ Sykes surveyed 1,500 US consumers about their experiences in relation to the pandemic have altered their shopping plans this winter.
The results of the survey are important to small local businesses. They reveal what consumers will be expecting for the impending holiday season. With such knowledge at their disposal, small businesses can be sufficiently prepared for consumers’ expectations and demands.
Sykes Local Shopping Survey
The survey shows that US consumers are doing online shopping like never before. About 57% of respondents say they have done most of their shopping online, rather than in person, this summer.
The authors of the study cite a government report which confirms the surge in online shopping:
“Representing a titanic shift from 2017, when online shopping accounted for only around 8% of all consumer spending, our survey responses line up with a recent US Department of Commerce report that shows a strong recent uptick in online retail sales. Whether Americans are taking advantage of online shopping for safety, or sheer convenience, it’s clear that an increasing number of consumers are connecting with retailers online,” the report states.
The surge in popularity in online shopping in the wake of the ongoing pandemic looks set to continue. If they’re not doing so already, local retailers would therefore be wise to offer products online.
Curbside Pickup and Direct Delivery
The survey also highlights consumers preferences over delivery options for the forthcoming holiday season. Almost 19% of consumers say they will rely more on online shopping with a same-day curbside pickup option. Over half of respondents say they will shop online for holiday items with their retail goods shipped directly to them.
For small businesses that have not yet made the leap to curbside pickup, now could be the time to do so. Curbside pickup involves customers shopping online and picking up their items in the parking lot. Without having to physically enter a store and having to wait for items to be delivered, curbside pickup is gaining prominence. Many small businesses have used curbside pickup and home delivery to ‘reinvent’ themselves during the pandemic.
As Sykes’ research shows, this trend looks set to continue into the winter holiday season.
What’s On Consumers’ Holiday Season Wishlist?
The study shows the retail categories on shoppers 2020 holiday wish list. Electronic devices are at the top of the list with almost 58% of respondents prioritizing such items. Electronic devices are closely followed by apparel, with over 54% of respondents saying they want clothing on their wish list. And 34% would like to see household appliances appear in their holiday season gifts. Almost 40% of consumers want to home improvement products to be on their wish lists this festive season.
These findings provide retailers with important information on what consumers will be looking for as we enter the holiday period. Subsequently, small retailers can make informed decisions about seasonal product ranges.
Consumers are also prioritizing health and safety as we enter the holiday period. Among the survey respondents, 77% say they would like to see face mask wearing mandatory in local retailers. Almost half of shoppers would be more inclined to shop in a store if it offered contactless payment methods.
The key takeaway of the research is that a large portion of consumers (1 in 5) are intent on supporting small local businesses this winter. Consumers also want to buy products online, shop in safe environments and be offered curbside or home delivery options. By following these demands and protocol, small retailers will be better prepared for the holiday season ahead.
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