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Holiday Shopping in 2020: What to expect

While the holiday shopping season is already infamous for being a time of anxiety and confusion, this year is set to be even more hectic with COVID-19 and its impact still rippling across the globe. Here is what you can expect to see during this holiday season.

Reduced Consumer Spending and Procrastinating

The coronavirus pandemic has placed a lot of strain on the global economy and on the wallets of families around the globe. As a result, consumers are expected to spend roughly 18 percent less on holiday gifts and festivities, says KPMG’s holiday shopping report. It’s also expected that consumers will finish their shopping earlier due to supply and COVID related concerns.

According to the report, “average spending per person this holiday season is expected to decrease to $515 from $627 last year, with the majority of consumers shopping either in October (25%) or November (38%), although a fair number began as early as August (12%).”

Increased Online Shopping

Online shopping has seen a huge surge in 2020 with many brick and mortar locations closing or transitioning to curbside pickup while shoppers continue with their social distancing practices. According to an online survey of over 800 U.S. and U.K. shoppers in July, 50% of consumers do more than three quarters of their shopping over the internet.

Online shopping is a great way to practice social distancing, but it also places a lot of strain on the logistics industry. Customer returns is one of the biggest issues caused by online shopping compared to in-store shopping. According to David Sobie, CEO of Happy Returns, “Shoppers return 5 to 10 percent of what they purchase in store but 15 to 40 percent of what they buy online.” This increase in return rates results in a massive strain on shipping.

Shipping Delays

Increases in online shopping in conjunction with the myriad of problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in troubled waters for the shipping industry. Capacity issues for both air and ocean carriers have become a problem and the holiday season is set to make things even more difficult.

The troubles faced by the freight industry has resulted in a multitude of shifts in industry functions. One shift is a massive uptick in last-mile delivery systems that attempt to store goods and products closer to their final destination by spreading out warehouses across the country and placing them closer to densely populated areas.

All of these factors combine to present unique challenges for both shoppers and shippers alike in the coming weeks. The best plan of action for this holiday season is to buy everything ahead of time to allow plenty of time for delayed shipments to arrive in time. Another way people are navigating the holiday madness is by giving cash, gift cards, or even homemade gifts to avoid the risk of lost or delayed packages ruining the holidays.

Contact Clear Freight to learn how we can help with your logistic needs.

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