Christmas Shopping in a Pandemic: A Christmas Unlike Any Other

woman holding a gift

It’s pretty obvious now that this year will see a different holiday season from what we’re used to. With COVID-19 still around, world governments are still enforcing the necessary protocols and safety measures. While some countries are ahead of the pack in handling the pandemic compared to others, it is safe to say that every country around the world is still navigating the health crisis.

The pandemic has affected the way we do life and business in a lot of ways. What seemed unlikely before have become the new normal. If you think back to about a year ago, you wouldn’t have expected that everyone will be encouraged to wear masks in public. For security reasons, you can’t enter a mall or an airport before if your face was concealed. Now, it is a must for you to wear a mask and a face shield in public at all times.

COVID-19 has affected our livelihood and our children’s education. It has upended a lot of our plans and goals for the year. And it’s not stopping there. Christmas will definitely not be the same this year. Experts say that there are four ways that the pandemic will affect this year’s holiday season.

The best time to shop

The global health crisis has, in many ways, instilled new behaviors in consumers, most of whom have transitioned and made their peace with online shopping.

With all the uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic brings, shoppers are not taking any chances this year. The consensus is that most people will not wait for Black Friday to do their shopping.

It is found that 30% of consumers have said that they intend to shop for gifts a little earlier this year. A lot of folks have actually started their Christmas shopping as early as September in anticipation of the season’s adverse effects on shipping and delivery. Retail shops are doing everything they can to encourage folks to shop earlier to avoid the crowds that the Christmas rush brings. Getting their holiday shopping done as early as now will help keep them safe from the hordes of people and avoid the headaches of delays or not finding the right items.

Click “Add to Cart”

online shoppingAs stated earlier, plenty of folks have already made the transition to online shopping, even those who were resistant to it before. Over the past few months that people have been locked in their homes, the number of e-commerce transactions has significantly gone up compared to its performance from a year ago.

Different kinds of goods have been purchased, ranging from baking equipment to coloring books for kids. Experts predict that there will be an even greater spike in online purchases as the holidays approach. They’re looking at a 25% to 35% increase which amounts to $182 billion to $196 billion this year, a very significant jump compared to 2019’s $145 billion in sales.

This has caused retail and other brick-and-mortar shops to upgrade their systems to get a piece of the action.

Expect shipping to be chaotic

As for logistics, delivery providers are anticipating a huge surge in delivery and shipping needs with the massive influx of online shoppers. Realistically speaking, this increase in online shopping activity will likely create a bottleneck in the delivery process which will inevitably lead to numerous delays.

An excess of 5% of its global capacity is expected by providers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. This means that around 700 million gifts might not make it to their recipients in time for Christmas.

Before, shoppers can still place an order for an item two days before Christmas and still get it on time. None of that will be happening this year.

Delivery and shipping companies have anticipated this type of outcome and have been looking for ways to prevent worst-case scenarios from happening. Consumers can help lighten their load by doing their shopping early.

Material over experiential

Remember how some people prefer to give experience as gifts? Things such as concert tickets, a trip abroad, perhaps a premium package at a spa, or season tickets to your favorite sport. You will probably have a hard time this year if you’re thinking of giving gifts along those lines.

About 69% of the people surveyed say that this year will mostly be all about material things. As long as physical distancing is implemented, most non-material gifts are out of the question.

Regardless of how you choose to do your shopping, this holiday season will definitely be a memorable one for all of us. Stay safe as you get your shopping done.

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