• Jacobs Communications

4 predictions for holiday shopping

It’s that time of year again where everyone makes their predictions for the holiday season. Last year, we placed our bets in Target’s Drive Up (which was recently rolled-out full chain) and it didn’t disappoint, especially in 2020 as the pandemic forced a dramatic shift in shopping behavior. We’ll continue to see Target and Walmart flex their delivery muscles.

2020 is the year of surprises for us all, but one thing has been clear. The winners have been the brands and retailers that focus on execution. Leaders at retailers have been cautiously optimistic about holiday spending this year. So many wild cards can be thrown into the holiday shopping game from a federal stimulus plan to the weather to the continuing pandemic.


Here are some of the things we are watching:

1) Shopping starts online

Earlier this year, when brick-and-mortar shopping had to be put on pause, shoppers flocked to online shopping channels and this habit is here to stay. Walmart and Target have experience phenomenal growth because of their ability to offer shoppers multiple delivery and pick up options. Even if shoppers still want to shop in a physical store, their journey will begin online as they will want to reduce the time spent inside a store. Research and planning will be front of mind with shoppers as they plan their trip so it’s important that all your online content is accurate and helps to drive a purchase decision.

2) Stretched out holiday season

With the shift of Amazon Prime day to mid-October and other big retailers holding their own competitive sales event, we believe the holiday shopping season has already begun. You can pretty much throw your past holiday sales model out the door this year. Your demand planning and execution will require a closer set of eyes. Don’t rely on your systems for inventory planning – use humans to react and keep your product in stock.

3) Store fulfillment for the win

Last month, Target announced it would hire 130,000 seasonal workers which is similar to last year, however, the majority of these team members will now be focused on omnichannel services like Drive Up and Pick Up. With the increased pressure put on the USPS and UPS, shoppers feel more confident that they will receive their product on time if they use one of Target’s pick up options.


4) Larger basket size, decreased traffic

Back to our call out of shopping starts online, store traffic is expected to decrease this season due to corona-related concerns. Guests are going to want a more purposeful visit. Retailers like Walmart, Target, and Costco are positioned to win as guests will want to get most of their shopping done in fewer trips. There will be less browsing time in store and more browsing time online.



Image from: corporate.target.com

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