Retail experts now warn of a tough December for the high street, after a record-breaking Black Friday weekend in online sales. Digital commerce and location intelligence company GBG offered the warning in a new report on consumers’ festive shopping hopes and fears: Christmas Unwrapped.
GBG, whose eCommerce experts work with over half the UK’s top retailers including ASOS, Gymshark, and Boohoo, found that less than a third of shoppers will return to the high street once lockdown restrictions lift.
The report, based on a poll of 1,000 consumers, also uncovered a rise in ‘delivery delay anxiety’: with 8 in 10 concerned about the impact of late deliveries.
As shoppers head online early and retailers encourage early orders to guarantee delivery, the importance of fast, reliable, and accurate deliveries has never been more important in what GBG has dubbed the ‘first digital Christmas’.
Says Matthew Furneaux – eCommerce expert and Director at GBG:
“Generation Zoom have made their intentions clear: they don’t plan to let COVID-19 steal Christmas this year. Rather, what we’re seeing is a spike as Brits dash to the digital high street to stock up on festive favourites and gifts for friends and family. While this year’s Black Friday was a success by any measure, consumers are more concerned with ordering and receiving in time for Christmas than on getting the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.”
“As demand continues into December, it will be critical that retailers make a good impression with consumers if they hope to retain their customer base headed into 2021. Consumers have been vocal this season about just how important fulfilment and delivery matters – this has a direct impact on brand loyalty when retailers fail to meet the demand.
“Address recognition and other technologies can help retailers establish and keep customer trust headed into the new year. By implementing smart technologies like auto-complete and data verification, check out processes are simple and fast, and delivery details are confirmed and accurate to ensure Christmas reaches every customer, everywhere, in time for Christmas.”
Key findings in GBG’s Christmas Unwrapped report include:
Getting parcels home for the holidays
- Despite COVID-19 restrictions, consumers have high expectations of gift delivery this year. More than two thirds (69%) expect to have gifts delivered directly to the intended recipient, or to their own address to give to the recipient in person. This rises to 76% of people aged between 18-29.
- More than 8 in 10 shoppers (81%) are concerned about late deliveries spoiling their plans – rising to 88% for Londoners.
- ‘Availability anxiety’ has been driving consumers to buy sooner rather than later, and is a key consideration for 43% of people in choosing gifts. This anxiety rises the younger the consumer. A quarter of those aged 18-29 say they are very concerned, compared to just 7% of over-60s.
- According to third party research, last year saw eCommerce spike 29% during the holidays, increasing average delivery times by 51%, even for retailers who had extra staff on hand.
Deck the digital high street
- Less than one third of Brits plan to do any shopping in-store before Christmas after lockdown ends on December 2. Those aged 30-44 plan to do 70% of their shopping online, compared to 68% of 18-29 and 45-60 year-olds, and 62% of over-60 year-olds.
- Online shopping priorities include free (51%) and fast (43%) delivery, ahead of getting a good deal (41%).
- Contactless delivery is also a key consideration this year for a fifth of people, including a quarter of those over 60 year-olds.
- Mobile shopping continues to rise, as more than 6 in 10 use their mobile (61%) to make their holiday purchases. This includes 72% of people aged 30-44 and 71% of those between 18-29. Those over 60 continue to prefer shopping via computer.