Consumers Are Ready for an Omnichannel Holiday Shopping Spree; Brands Are You Ready?

Second annual consumer survey shows consumer confidence in spending this holiday season with 65% of shoppers planning to spend the same amount or more online compared to 2020

Radial, a bpost group company, the leader in ecommerce solutions, announced the results of a consumer insights study which surveyed 1,000 adults across the United States to determine their holiday shopping plans.

“This year’s survey shows us that in-store shopping is still alive and well despite the pandemic, but consumers are showing more preference and confidence in using other channels as they’ve been forced to drastically adjust how they shop over the last year”

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While brands may be concerned about consumer spending plans as the pandemic continues, the data found that 65% of shoppers surveyed plan to spend the same amount or more compared to 2020. This means the upcoming holiday season will be as busy as ever – with consumers now confidently interacting and purchasing through multiple channels – especially online. In fact, 50% of shoppers claimed that COVID-19 has influenced them to shop even more online and nearly half of respondents said they plan on increasing their usage of new shopping options like buy online, pick up in store this holiday season. However, this uptick doesn’t mean brick-and-mortar stores won’t be busy, the data revealed that 45% of consumers do plan to shop the same amount in store as 2020.

“This year’s survey shows us that in-store shopping is still alive and well despite the pandemic, but consumers are showing more preference and confidence in using other channels as they’ve been forced to drastically adjust how they shop over the last year,” said Laura Ritchey, Chief Operating Officer, Radial. “What we’re seeing this holiday season is high demand distributed across online, in-store, curbside, buy online, pick up in-store, and other emerging channels. The reason there is such a mix of purchasing options comes down to convenience for the consumer and product availability. Consumers are getting used to going in-store to browse but buying online due to convenience of home delivery or out-of-stocks in-store. Brands that have developed and optimized their omnichannel strategies during the pandemic will be better positioned to serve customers regardless of the channel they are shopping in this holiday season.”

With another busy holiday season ahead, brands need to prepare for the holidays now. The 2021 data revealed that 57% of consumers plan to shop earlier compared to 2020. Additionally, eight in 10 shoppers claim that if brands start offering deals before Black Friday they will shop sooner. For one in five respondents that means as early as August.

With ecommerce demands and consumer expectations rising, brands need to focus on omnichannel ecommerce operations as the primary channel of choice for shoppers and aim to drive satisfaction with timely order deliveries. Shoppers may have relaxed their expectations around delivery timelines due to the strains of the pandemic last year, but those feelings are changing. The 2020 survey found that only 14% of respondents expected their holiday gifts within two days, whereas nearly a quarter of shoppers (23%) surveyed in 2021 expect their items to arrive within two to three days. Most consumers (45%) agree three to five days is a reasonable time frame for delivery of holiday gifts and fewer than a quarter think one week is reasonable. Less than 10% of consumers find more than one week acceptable.

As a result of the pandemic, 2020 was a tremendous year for ecommerce growth. At times, online ordering and fulfillment was the only channel open for both brands and consumers. To put the high demand into context, in all of 2020, Radial fulfilled nearly 330 million units, 82 million of which were fulfilled in the peak months of November and December. This was a 34% increase in units fulfilled over the 2019 peak season.

With the increased demand in ecommerce over the past year, it’s no surprise that more brands are turning to third-party logistics providers like Radial with expertise in scaling to support omnichannel operations. In the past year alone, Radial has opened four new fulfillment centers in North America, with two more opening later this year, to support increased client needs and serve new clients joining the fulfillment network. For brands that need agility in omnichannel operations and scale to meet increased consumer demands, Radial offers support through ecommerce fulfillment, order management, omnichannel technology solutions, transportation, and customer care services. To learn more about how brands can scale operations and drive ROI ahead of the holiday season, please visit the Radial website.

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