What does retail shopping look like this holiday season with Covid-19 still spreading rapid in the United States? Well, despite the 6.7% of Americans on unemployment this November as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, a whopping $5.1 billion were spent on online sales alone this Thanksgiving Day, according to Adobe Analytics’ data. This year’s Thanksgiving Day sales surpassed 2019’s by $1 billion, which is adding to this year’s predicted total of $189 billion in online sales, showing a 33% growth this year. Adobe predicts an even larger rise in online sales, 47% year-to-year growth, depending on the severity of this year’s flu season.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape for shoppers worldwide with more and more people doing most of their shopping, from clothes to groceries, online. The virus has turned online shopping into a necessity rather than a personal preference. The Black Friday sales we normally see for just one quick day are now being promoted all season long in order to, hopefully, drive more foot traffic into their stores over time rather than one big rush the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Amazon is leading the retail pack digitally with over 5 billion unique online visitors just this year, with the next highest retailer, eBay, coming in with around 1.5 billion visitors, according to Statista. In order to compete with Amazon and their “Prime Day”, companies started rolling out deals around mid-October and are expected to keep pushing new deals throughout the holiday season. While ecommerce is clearly on the rise, email marketing is taking a hit this season with Adobe predicting an 8% decrease in share.
Despite a majority of American’s working from home on their computers, almost half of the online purchases were done from the customer’s smartphone or tablet. Due to decrease commuting time and a lack of a boss looking over your shoulder at work, the customer has more time to scroll on their smartphones or tablets and do their shopping simultaneously with work. Adobe Analytics data showed an estimated $28 billion more were spent from phones this year compared to what was reported in 2019. A survey put out by Statista in June of 2020 showed that one third of consumers were more inclined to use the ‘Buy online, pick up in store’ option some companies have provided, yet the customers do not intend to continue to shop in the stores while picking up their order as they have previously stated doing.
So, what does this mean for storefronts across the nation? Will they keep pushing online shopping once the pandemic comes to an end or will they attempt to revive their brick-and-mortar storefronts? Will customers even feel comfortable going back into stores despite the vaccines being produced? Online shopping has already been a threat to storefronts from nationwide companies to local boutiques and it does not look like that will change anytime soon which will lead to more and more storefront closures nationwide.