Retailers, for decades, have focussed on spending more on ads and offering promotions to drive holiday spend. This year, however, things are obviously different and retailers would be wise to reevaluate their marketing tactics.
A recent Accenture survey of more than 1,500 shoppers reveals that few consumers this year are planning to spend their money on buying gifts and are instead preparing for small gatherings. They also plan to shop with retailers whose brand values resonate with them and actively take steps to ensure the health and wellness of their store employees and their customers.
The survey revealed that 61 percent of consumers this year plan to shop less in-store to minimize the health risk of store employees. An equal share of them also plan to make purchases with brands that show that they are committed to ensuring health, safety and hygiene, CNBC reported.
Perhaps the most interesting finding points to how and whom consumers plan to shop with. More than three-quarters say that they want retailers to shut their stores on Thanksgiving Day so that their workers can take a break and spend time with their families.
Jill Standish, who heads Accenture’s retail division, said that this shift in consumer behavior stems from their newfound empathy for store employees, their neighbors, their coworkers and even those responsible for stocking shelves. After all, consumers have had their own fair share of struggle juggling work and home life, she said.
“We’ve all been in lockdown, and with our families, and school and home and work all collide,” she said. “Holiday is just another extension of that. And yet it’s made us all a little bit more tolerant, a little bit more human.”
The study also revealed that fewer consumers plan to partake in holiday festivities. Nearly 40 percent said they were not looking forward to the holiday season due to COVID-19. More than a third are not interested in this year’s holiday season because they are grieving the loss of a loved one or because they cannot get together with their family and friends.
That is not to say that consumers do not plan to shop and spend. This year, consumers plan to spend $540, on average, which is $100 less than the amount they spent on holiday shopping last year.
A significant share of these consumers also plan to utilize digital channels to do their shopping. Nearly three-quarters of them plan to do some of their shopping online and 43 percent will exclusively shop online.
These digital-shifters are also more likely to shop with retailers that have strong brand values. Four in 10 plan to shop with retailers that support the Black Lives Matter movement, for example. An equal number plan to shop with minority-owned businesses.
“It’s obvious who’s really being righteous and who’s doing the right thing,” she said. “When consumers have a choice and they’re shopping online and it’s a product that’s available from other retailers, then they have the ability to go shift. They can compare. They can shop somewhere else. So the transparency is like no other and the authenticity is like no other this holiday.”
Winning the business and long-term loyalty of these consumers is thus going to take offering seamless ways to shop and pay, clearly defining and communicating brand values and creating shopping experiences that are meaningful to consumers this holiday season.