Holiday Trends Suggest Solid Sales But Challenges, Too

Based on early analysis of shopping patterns, 1010data has forecast a 5% increase in year-end sales for the holidays, with digital up 50% and store spending down 1% versus the 2019 season.

When it looked at the fourth quarter of 2020 and the start of holiday shopping, the market research firm detected indications of early retail shopping well before prior year spending at key retailers analyzed, including Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Target and Walmart. As early as October 1st, sales came in about 30% higher than 2019 levels, all analyzed stores combined, based on credit and debit card data.

Spending held robust throughout October and November at around 25% year-over-year growth. With Amazon excluded,1010data stated, other major retailers maintained around 15% growth year-over-year until Thanksgiving week, when gains shifted closer to 10%.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers who once shopped almost exclusively in store are now shopping online and are exposed to new omnichannel fulfillment options like buy online pick up in store and home delivery, 1010data pointed out. The abrupt and significant shifts in category performance call for frequent strategic and tactical adjustments in sales, marketing, category management and supply chain, which must be informed by robust in-store and e-commerce data along with granular data analytics.

During the period analyzed, Amazon had to share the limelight with several other major retailers’ online offerings even during a period of massive growth in accessories, electronics, and smart homewares, and ongoing gains in home delivery across multiple categories, especially food and beverage. The immediate post-holiday period is characterized by massive volumes of returned merchandise, so retailers will face another challenge in customer satisfaction and operations dealing with the inflow, 1010data noted.