Digital Trends From the 2021 Holiday Shopping Season
The holidays may be over, but there’s some interesting and perhaps surprising insights to gain from looking at this year’s omnichannel holiday shopping trends.
AFTER YEARS OF STEADY GROWTH, E-COMMERCE INTENT DECLINED
For a number of years, several independent studies have asked shoppers in advance of each holiday shopping season whether they planned to primarily shop for gifts online or in stores.
Back in 2015 e-commerce was polling about 15% points behind the in store experience. By 2017-18 they were polling about even, and over the last few years e-commerce has won out.
During the 2020 holiday season, mid-pandemic, we saw the highest growth in e-commerce intent ever, a jump from 54% intending to shop primarily online to 61%—no doubt driven in part by concerns of contagion at the physical stores.
This past holiday season, we saw some “retrenching” on those numbers and for the first time since these longitudinal studies have been conducted we saw a decline in the percentage of shoppers intending to shop for gifts primarily online, as visible in the graph below, which is based on data from PWC but which is corroborated by similar data from the National Retail Federation.
I predict we will see this number tick back up again next year and that this is simply a correction that reduces the “COVID effect” seen in the 2020 numbers.
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