Did CDC’s announcement boost retail’s online sales prospects for Christmas?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants all those Americans who have made Black Friday shopping trips an annual event to stay far away from the mall and retail stores this year.
The government agency has issued a list of activities around Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season and ranked them into three categories — low, moderate and higher risk — to try and prevent a surge in the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Topping the list of higher risk activities is shopping “in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving.”
Around 205,000 Americans have already lost their lives to the virus and medical experts have been warning for months that the country may face a surge in new cases as colder weather forces people inside in more closed quarters. The numbers of diagnosed cases have jumped 15 percent over the past two weeks, with fatalities a lagging figure.
Retailers have been setting the stage to try and space crowds out during the holiday season by beginning holiday promotions at the beginning of October instead of waiting for the week of Thanksgiving. Amazon.com has set its annual Prime Day sales event for Oct. 13 and 14. Coresight Research and Shopkick have teamed up to enlist retailers to participate in the first 10.10 Shopping Festival in an effort to replicate the success of Single’s Day (11.11) in China.
Holiday season sales were already shifting to online channels in past years and that was before COVID-19 became part of the American lexicon. Online sales jumped 14.1 percent last year, well ahead of the 4.1 percent overall growth for the industry, according to the National Retail Federation.
Deloitte has forecast online sales growth between 25 and 35 percent this holiday season. The consultancy expects sales for the holidays to be flat to up 3.5 percent, depending on a number of factors including the spread of the virus and its impact on the economy.
COVID-19 has led Americans to shop online more frequently this year than before the health risk arose. In the process, many discovered and liked the ease of purchasing goods in this manner. Others have found that delivery, curbside and in-store pickup options are more convenient than walking around stores and waiting on checkout lines.
- COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Covid in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count – The New York Times
- NRF says 2019 holiday sales were up 4.1 percent – National Retail Federation
- A Tale of Two Holiday Seasons: As a K-Shaped Recovery Model Emerges, Consumer Spending Heavily Bifurcated – Deloitte
- Will 2020 be the year the holiday selling season changed forever? – RetailWire
- COVID-19 will redefine the meaning of Christmas creep in 2020 – RetailWire
- Which COVID-19 consumer habits will stick? – RetailWire
- Has COVID-19 revealed pickup’s pain points? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will earlier promotions, recent changes in consumer shopping behavior and social distancing/face covering measures dramatically reduce crowds in stores this holiday season? Will the experience this year have a significant effect on how Americans shop during future holiday seasons?