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Amazon Prime Day and earlier holiday shopping will ding Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Like 2020 in general, holiday shopping is going to be a series of first-time events. Surveys from Accenture and Salesforce indicate holiday shopping will start in October amid smaller budgets and concerns about supply chain disruptions.

It’s beginning to look a lot like holiday shopping season even though it’s not Halloween. You can thank evolving shopping habits, COVID-19, a delayed Amazon Prime Day, supply chain concerns, and crimped consumer and business budgets.

The moving parts are going to be enough to make Black Friday more of a 2020 retailing blip than the biggest shopping day of the year.

Simply put, the calendar is moving forward and households won’t have as much to spend. The winners will be Amazon, which is likely to deliver its biggest fourth quarter in history, and retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Target that have mastered buy online pickup in-store and other digital sales tactics.

In addition, Amazon’s rivals are all planning sales around Prime Day. Those moves will just create a flywheel of demand that’ll minimize the importance of retail’s big holiday shopping days.

Consider some data on holiday shopping 2020 from Accenture’s Holiday Shopping Survey:

76% of more than 1,500 US consumers said they want retailers to close on Thanksgiving. 2020 will be very human this year.

Only 11% of consumers are willing to pick up purchases in-store.

44% of consumers plan to spend the same on holiday shopping than they did last year and 41% said they will spend less. The percentage of consumers spending less has tripled in 2000 compared to 2019.

30% of consumers will start holiday shopping earlier for fear of not getting what they want if they wait until after Thanksgiving.

64% said they are less inclined to shop on Black Friday with 59% less inclined on Cyber Monday.

From Salesforce’s forecast based on Commerce Cloud data:

10% of cyberweek sales will be pulled into October.

Total digital sales will hit a record high of $940 billion globally with $221 billion in the US.

700 million packages will face potential shipping delays as orders will exceed shipping capacity by 5%.

Overall holiday sales will be flat despite growth in digital commerce, which will represent 18% of all retail.

How this holiday e-commerce season plays out is yet to be determined, but there are some underlying trends to consider.

For starters, sales of electronics, PCs and monitors may lag due to pushed up demand. Sales of these items surged as workers went remote and had to equip home offices for the long-haul. Virtual back-to-school plans also boosted demand.

That demand in work- and learn-from-home gear was shifted forward and may not appear in the holiday season. However, Amazon has launched…

Larry Dignan

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