It's been a year like no other, but is it Christmas as usual? In a busy period for many businesses, what trends characterize global trade this 2020 holiday season?
Christmas is usually a time where consumer spending increases as people buy gifts for their loved ones and celebrate with their friends and colleagues. This year, there have been some changes. Lower-income workers in the food, retail, and non-essential services industries were hit hardest by business closures. Middle-class and higher-earning individuals, on the other hand, have more disposable income this year, after being in lock-down.
One consequence of quarantines and social distancing has been the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. A 25% to 35% predicted increase in e-commerce sales this year would substantially surpass last year's growth of 14%. In response, retailers are trying to adapt by introducing apps and virtual service options that keep them competitive. Businesses are also including additional gift wrapping, personalization, and bonuses to keep customers loyal.
This increased online shopping has had a knock on effect on the logistics industry, at both an international and local level. Unprecedented demand has been put on postal services to get the increase of goods delivered on time and there has even been a global shortage of available shipping containers. Despite economic setbacks, many consumers expect to spend the same or more on presents this holiday season. Moreover, many have got their shopping done earlier this year with supermarkets in the UK for example noting record sales of groceries in November.
New buying trends are setting the tone for 2020's end-of-year festivities, fueling import and export demand overseas.
For many people, 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride. Consequently, it doesn't come as a surprise that many people want to make the holidays extra special. This year, Christmas decoration sales are substantially higher in the UK than they have been for the past five years. Although holiday decorations are also in high demand in the US, the difference isn't as notable as in the UK.
This year, some of the most popular decorative items include gingerbread houses, cookie decorating kits, napkins, stationary, gift tags, labels, wrapping paper, serving platters, baking sets, gift bags, and greeting cards.
More personal, work, and fitness activities are being done at home, so more consumers are searching for products to enhance their homes. Electronics such as toasters, ovens, microwaves, and other home appliances are fuelling record exports in China.
Other increasingly popular home retail products include cooking appliances (rotisseries, roasting ovens, thermometers, blenders, mixers, bread makers) and bathroom products.
People still have a keen eye on celebration with alcoholic drinks featuring heavily in peoples stockings this year. Wine, liquor, champagne, and high-end spirits are on the table for 2020, in addition to home bar sets.
Cocktail shakers, mixology sets and customizable bar accessories are some of the most in-demand gifts this season. Mocktails and non-alcoholic beverage alternatives are also gaining momentum.
Staying healthy and fit became a higher priority for even more individuals this year as consumers strive to keep in shape from their living rooms. Other shoppers are preparing for their long-awaited ski and snowboard adventures this winter.
Some of the most searched for fitness products this holiday include punching bags, ice skates, sleds, snowboarding equipment, trampolines, fishing & hunting supplies, gym mats, inline skates, and foosball tables.
Fewer opportunities to participate in social gatherings or travel on vacation have contributed to a new wave of hobby enthusiasts.
Some of the hottest-selling past time gifts this holiday include video game consoles, nail art kits, astronomy items, karaoke systems, jigsaw puzzles, turntables, gardening supplies, painting sets, and cameras.
It's been a turbulent year for many, but judged by the above trends, consumers are still finding reason to celebrate. Everyone at MODIFI wishes you a merry Christmas, happy holidays and a wonderful new year!