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2021 Ecommerce Holiday Shopping Trends

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The vacation season is simply across the nook and the previous 18 months of uncertainty and instability have left shoppers craving for some festivities and cheer. Although the pandemic isn’t over but, rising vaccination charges and fewer restrictions imply many Americans will as soon as once more celebrate the holidays with family and friends at in-person events.

However, in-person festivities received’t be the one change we see this vacation season. The method shoppers do their vacation purchasing—and the advertising ways that resonate with them—are going to look totally different from final yr now that in-person purchasing is protected once more. Retailers must prepare.

At Iterable, we’re large on folks and preparation. To perceive shoppers’ plans for the vacation purchasing season, what’s driving their buying choices, and their attitudes in the direction of ongoing digital transformation, we surveyed 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. in our second annual “Ecommerce Holiday Shopping Trends.”

Our findings present there’s a possibility for retailers to tell apart themselves—if they’ll degree up their advertising. By capitalizing on improved buyer sentiment and embracing the intent to rejoice (and spend), manufacturers can seize higher market share this season. The vacation purchasing winners this yr would be the retailers who’re armed with instruments that allow seamless and customized cross-channel experiences for his or her clients. Here’s what we found.

Top Holiday Shopping Trends for 2021

1. Retailers can seize extra market share in the event that they inspire their consumers.

Retailers have some excellent news to sit up for this vacation purchasing season: improved client sentiment and an elevated urge for food to splurge on presents.

Last yr, 63% of shoppers stated they felt “somewhat or very negatively” towards the vacation purchasing season on account of the pandemic. In an enchancment of sentiment, solely 48% of respondents this yr report feeling damaging, with greater than a 3rd feeling impartial (36%).

Retailers nonetheless must be delicate towards client apathy, however the outlook for the 2021 vacation purchasing season appears to be like brighter than final yr. And regardless of some apprehension, 42% of consumers plan to spend extra money on presents in the course of the 2021 vacation season in comparison with 2020.

There will probably be extra market share for retailers to achieve if they’ll inspire shoppers, but it surely’s not going to be handed to them. Retailers want to extend optimistic messaging and empathy-driven advertising, whereas nonetheless empathizing with the apprehension shoppers might really feel in regards to the unfold of COVID-19 variants.

2. Retailer’s want a technique that helps digital purchasing, bodily purchasing, and the whole lot in between.

A hybrid working surroundings isn’t the one submit pandemic development. Now hybrid purchasing is in vogue.

Consumers are nonetheless digital-first of their purchasing habits total, however are slowly returning to pre-pandemic purchasing behaviors. When requested how their habits will differ from the 2020 vacation purchasing season, 20% of respondents indicated they may do extra in individual purchasing this yr in comparison with final yr.

  Consumers who plan to finish all or most of their purchasing on-line. Consumers who plan to finish half of their purchasing on-line and half in shops. Consumers who plan to finish all or most of their purchasing in retailer.
2020 67% 22% 11%
2021 51% 33% 16%
Percent change YOY -16% +11% +5%

However, simply because consumers are returning to brick-and-mortar shops doesn’t imply on-line demand will decline. Surprised? Don’t fear. It will get fascinating. In truth, 50% of shoppers say they may store on-line extra this yr than they did in 2020. In addition, we discovered that 66% of excessive earners (respondents who make $100K or extra) plan to finish extra of their purchasing on-line. Luxury retailers particularly must be ready to make the most of this elevated e-commerce urge for food.

It’s clear that buyers nonetheless need to have an in-person purchasing choice, but it surely’s more and more paired with e-commerce as nicely—whether or not it’s purchase on-line, pickup in retailer (BOPIS), or shopping merchandise on one channel and buying from one other. Shoppers will naturally return to brick-and-mortar shops both now or sooner or later, so these vacation purchasing traits present that manufacturers should work on optimizing all experiences and guaranteeing consistency in model identification and messaging—irrespective of the channel.

3. Consumers need genuine, customized relationships with the manufacturers they do enterprise with.

Over three-quarters of respondents (76%) usually tend to buy from a model they’ve an emotional connection to, that means mission-driven statements from manufacturers have excessive worth in 2021. However, the diploma of client care varies by technology. Ninety p.c of Gen Zers and 85% of millennials are motivated by emotional connections, in comparison with solely 60% of child boomers.

Consumers are almost definitely to buy with manufacturers that may fulfill their wants (41%) and enhance their lives (20%). But it’s vital to do not forget that each buyer is a person with distinctive wants, desires, and pursuits. To enchantment to your audience, it’s essential for retailers to recurrently survey clients and use their suggestions to type robust connections by strategic campaigns.

What tone resonates finest with shoppers? Last yr, practically one-fourth of respondents (22%) most popular promotions from manufacturers with an empathetic and comforting tone, doubtless in response to the pessimism attributable to the pandemic. But as shoppers progressively return to their pre-pandemic existence this yr, greater than one-fourth of respondents (27%) desire promotions with a simple and no frills tone. Changes in client preferences are to be anticipated, which is why A/B testing is particularly precious to make sure messaging is on level in your goal demographics.

When it involves statements made by a model’s management, shoppers are equally divided about whether or not it does or doesn’t affect their buying choice. Our recommendation? Be genuine as a company. Ensure your values and messaging are constant throughout channels, together with your management.

4. Timing issues, however preferences range by technology.

The proper message, on the proper time, to the suitable technology is what issues most. Thirty-six p.c of shoppers plan to buy earlier this season, doubtless studying their lesson from final yr’s late deliveries and provide chain points. But precisely how early is “earlier?” 1 / 4 of shoppers (25%) plan to finish most of their purchasing on Black Friday and one other 21% plan to take action in November (unrelated to purchasing holidays).

Make it straightforward for shoppers to do their vacation purchasing by sharing reductions early and differentiate your model messaging in November to capitalize on shopper intent. Also, be sure you arrange each your in-person and on-line infrastructure for achievement on Black Friday in anticipation of elevated demand.

It’s vital to contemplate generational variations as nicely for a possibility to additional section. Gen Zers and millennials are greater than twice as prone to plan to buy throughout Black Friday than child boomers. Furthermore, child boomers are one-third extra prone to store throughout November than millennials and Gen Zers, and are additionally 2.5x extra prone to store throughout October than Generation Z.

We additionally discovered that youthful generations usually tend to be motivated by gross sales occasions, whereas older generations desire to buy gadgets as quickly as they’re in inventory. Forty-three p.c of Gen Zers and greater than a 3rd of millennials (35%) plan to attend for an internet gross sales occasion to buy presents, in comparison with solely 16% of child boomers. Be strategic and create campaigns that may resonate along with your goal audiences. For youthful generations, think about messaging extra oriented round costs, whereas for older generations, message them earlier and deal with merchandise.

Finally, by which channels do shoppers need to obtain promotions? More than half of shoppers desire email (52%), adopted by textual content, after which the retailer’s web site. And, 84% of consumers are prone to obtain a retailer’s app for unique promotions. Clearly, the web person expertise you present consumers is vital to drive purchases and unique gross sales generally is a compelling trade-off for gaining client’s private data with consent.

What This Means for Retailers

Consumers deserve an distinctive vacation retail expertise from manufacturers they do enterprise with this yr. These vacation purchasing traits present that, greater than ever, consumers need cohesive cross-channel experiences from retailers they’ll type an genuine relationship with. As a outcome, retailers must personalize their advertising campaigns utilizing up-to-date information. With highly effective options that allow glorious, individualized person experiences, retailers can make the most of shoppers’ elevated urge for food to spend.

To study extra in regards to the 2021 ecommerce vacation purchasing traits, have a look the infographic under.

And, in the event you’re searching for assist in creating customized experiences that construct emotional connections throughout channels, schedule a demo to get in contact with our workforce. 

2021 ecommerce holiday shopping trends

Click the infographic to obtain your personal copy!

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