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Early and record-breaking holiday shopping season predicted

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Online retail is forecast to increase between 36%-38% over last year’s, which will make this holiday season the greatest spike in online shopping in history, according to new research.

Early and record-breaking holiday shopping season predicted

New data from Bloomreach, the shows the surge in holiday online shopping has already started as customers start preparing early for the festive season amidst the uncertainty around the ongoing impact of COVID.

Bloomreach’s Commerce Pulse Data for September 2020 shows that searches for ‘Christmas’ appeared in the top 20 of search terms in September, one month earlier than in 2019; while related terms such as stockings and ornaments are also entering the list of top searches over the same period. Bloomreach forecasts that this holiday season, online retail will increase between 36%-38% over last year’s, which will make this holiday season the greatest spike in online shopping in history.

“With worries around product availability and health concerns heavily impacting the in-store shopping experience, consumers are more likely to shop online for gifts this season – and they are starting earlier than in previous years,” said Brian Walker, Chief Strategy Officer at Bloomreach. “This will create additional pressure on delivery: festive season packages will add to the volume of current online deliveries, with estimates that home delivery volumes will exceed carrier capacity by 5 to 10%. This will in turn create delivery delays as shopping intensifies closer to Christmas, leaving shoppers hoping to bag a last-minute bargain to look to pick up from shops as a safe way to fill those stockings. Online retailers and brands will look to space out promotions to manage the volumes of click-and-collect and package deliveries.”

Walker added, “This holiday shopping season will be like no other. Spending may increase as families and friends will not be able to travel and get together as in years past. Shops and shopping centres will have to manage how many people can enter the stores, and will increasingly space out promotions, moving many of them earlier in the season. And of course the digital experience needs to be top-notch. Consumers will not want to queue outside in bad weather, but instead may queue up in their cars for click-and-collect, while shops will be increasingly optimised as warehouses for pick up and shipping to keep up with demand.”

“While this is a boon for online and omnichannel retailers and brands, the sector needs to take measures to prepare for the surge in traffic to their sites. They need to ensure product discovery and personalisation are being used to help customers find fun, interesting gifts and that product availability is clear within the search and browse experience.”

Bloomreach powers over 25% of all UK and US eCommerce and services over 500 global brands. Bloomreach’s Coronavirus Hub can be found here.


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