This year, with stores unable to physically accommodate as many shoppers at one time safely, coupled with potential reluctance to visit stores, buyers will be moving online in record numbers to snap up their pre-holiday bargains. For retailers, that means having all your ducks in a row ready to take advantage of the surge in online shoppers on 27th November (Black Friday) and 30th November (Cyber Monday).
2020 continues to impact buyer behavior which makes it hard for us to predict what might happen this year, but there is good reason to be hopeful of strong wider seasonal sales. Research from Deloitte expects online holiday sales to increase 25%-35% for the 2020 season and reach $182-$196 billion for ecommerce sales in November, December and January – much higher than the 2019 holiday season.
Additionally, our own search data has shown huge swings in year over year search volumes and the products customers are searching for.
So where will we be most likely to spend our money? We're predicting 4 categories:
1. Home Office Spend
Having spent most of the year in our homes, décor and home improvements are predicted to be high on online shoppers lists. Items like outdoor heaters, BBQ’s, furniture and soft furnishings are predicted to see some of the greatest activity on Black Friday. Add to that we’ve all been working from home, so fixtures and fittings for the home office will drive online sales of office furniture and supplies too. Office supplies including hardware will see a surge as companies restock in anticipation of a returning workforce.
2. Computers, Electronics & Gaming
We’re spending more time at home on our devices so spending in this category is likely to continue.
Tablets, phones, smart TV’s, digital assistants are all taking a greater stage in our daily routines as we connect with people in new ways for both work, entertainment and leisure. There is greater demand across the household for access to these items. It’s not just the kids. Where it may have been okay to share devices before, with the advent of home-schooling, this has become increasingly difficult. Gaming usually sees our millennials lining up outside stores waiting for the doors to open, but this year that impact will be felt online as they virtually line up for new downloads. eCommerce technology will feel the strain of immediate surges in demand and should prepare accordingly.
3. Home Fitness
With gyms being largely closed in 2020 there has been growth in the home gym and a surge in fitness equipment and apparel. An article from CNN reports that Peleton has seen 172% increase in sales during the pandemic.
Running and outdoor cycling have also seen growth as we seek to get our daily exercise in the fresh air, so online sales of bikes, scooters (including electric bikes and scooters) can expect to see a rise in demand. Online fitness and sports apparel will also see corresponding Black Friday sales too.
4. Pent Up Demand
As our 2020 overall purchasing cycle has been disrupted there is pent up demand for certain items as we’ve spent months at home. Significant apparel purchases have not been made and so there may be increased demand as we near Christmas in the hope of some social interactions. Likewise, gift giving may increase – in pursuit of a ‘feel good’ holiday season, but also making up for not personally seeing friends or family throughout the year, and perhaps missing birthdays or anniversaries during lockdown months.
There is also a new category of Black Friday purchaser potentially lurking in the shadows. Beware the replenishment purchaser. Bulk panic buying was a symptom of lockdown and those who took to the stores to purchase supplies of toilet roll, hand sanitizer, soap, bleach and other pandemic-related products may decide that Black Friday is their opportunity to get ahead of any further looming lockdown scenario. These shopping habits have become ingrained for some and will likely show themselves again when online retailers are offering promotions, continuing to stock up for the months ahead.
Retailers will also continue to be short on some supplies – especially around product lines where panic buying may take hold, or where there are still issues in manufacturing and supply chain, and in these situations having the right eCommerce search technology to be able to make recommendations for different in-stock products will be more important than ever. User experience and the ability to offer an alternative will ensure revenue and shoppers will stay with your organization.
It's never too late to make the best use of technology to enhance user experience. With search volumes expecting to continue to grow at record levels, book some time with us to learn how we can improve your eCommerce website.