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How retailers are adopting digital and omnichannel strategies during COVID-19

Amit Sahni Senior Consultant, Americas 09/11/2020

The holiday shopping season has already started for Americans. As per the recent survey conducted by Savanta, four out of ten consumers (38%) have already begun holiday shopping in October. Another 20% plan to shop early November before Thanksgiving, while a quarter planning to shop after Thanksgiving (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.).

When it comes to spending, COVID-19 has not dampened shoppers' spirits as one would have expected.

When it comes to spending, COVID-19 has not dampened shoppers’ spirits as one would have expected. More than two-thirds of consumers (68%) plan to spend the same or more on holiday shopping than they spent last year. Consumers with higher household income ($125,000 plus) are also likely to spend more compared to the previous year, than consumers with lower income levels.

As major retailers have already started promoting their holiday offers, eight out of ten consumers plan to shop for the holiday season during the promotional days. Black Friday (44%) was the most preferred choice for holiday shopping, followed by Cyber Monday (40%) and Free shipping day (30%).

Covid-19 has accelerated the trend for online shopping as just under three-quarters (72%) of consumers plan to spend half or more of their holiday shopping budget using online channels.

Seven out of ten consumers plan to shop at Amazon during this shopping season, making it the most preferred choice for holiday shopping. Another six out of ten consumers are likely to shop from a specific store’s website (58%).

With digital shopping becoming the new normal, bricks and mortar stores are still very much in play as approaching half (48%) consumers are likely to shop from a standalone store. Covid has impacted the consumer preference towards shopping in malls as only a third (37%) of consumers are planning to shop from a store in a mall.

The integration of digital ordering (website/ smartphone app) and delivery options (curbside delivery/ returns) by bricks and mortar stores is helping them during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety (83%) and convenience (80%) were the top reasons for a preference towards online shopping over bricks and mortar stores. For those deciding to shop from physical stores, it is no surprise that consumers look for safety and convenience. Four in ten (43%) consumers are likely to opt for a safer curbside delivery option by ordering online. It is also a win-win situation for retailers as it saves them the costs and hassles of delivery and packaging.

Price is also a fundamental reason for consumer preference towards online shopping, as two out of three consumers prefer to spend more using online shopping on account of better pricing.

Consumers are planning to shop across multiple categories in this shopping season. Clothing and accessories were the top choice for shopping (60%), followed by gift cards (55%), toys and hobbies (44%), electronics and accessories (44%), and food and beverages (43%). Females are more likely to buy gift cards (63%) than males (48%). At the same time, males are more likely to buy electronics and accessories (50%) than females (37%). Almost one in four consumers are planning to spend on pet food and treats this holiday season.

Savanta uses a “W.I.N.” framework comprised of three core elements: wired, interconnectedness, and new norms to help retailers align their retail strategies to ever-changing shopper behavior. Please click here to download the findings of our latest report – W.I.N. at retail- Shopping post-Covid.

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