A lot has changed this year. How company meetings occur, how children are being taught, how we spend our time, and now we can add holiday shopping to the list. Gone are the days of crowds of people wandering from shop to shop and hoping to get a great parking spot. It’s time for a new way to approach holiday shopping…could it be a welcome change?
Getting Started Earlier
Black Friday used to be the un-official kick-off to holiday shopping. Not this year! Many stores began their holiday sales in October. Yep, that’s right, October. But who is thinking about the holidays in October? A lot of people, actually! If you take a moment to look around your neighborhood you may have noticed holiday decorations popping up earlier this year, primarily because the holidays typically bring a sense of joy and gratitude with them. Many people embraced that feeling and took advantage of the sales in October and November. Not to worry though, most retailers plan to continue offering sales throughout the season.
Letting Our Fingers Do the Shopping
Online shopping is where it’s at this year, more so than in previous years. This transition is certainly due to safety concerns, but with more people working from home, the opportunity to shop online has grown (of course, not during online meetings).
But what are people shopping for? Of course, that depends on individuals, but the trend is skewing towards purchases that can build relationships, activities that are done at home, opportunities for pampering, or gifts that are future focused. Fitness equipment and accessories, cookbooks and cooking products, board games, streaming services, and gifts that offer experiences to be had in the future are just a few examples.
Spending Will Be Up…Or Down
Everyone is in a different situation. Those that may have experienced a job loss, or a pay cut may intentionally spend less during holiday shopping (and that’s okay). Others may spend a bit more this season because travel plans were canceled earlier in the year. It’s kind of a mixed bag. From a financial perspective, however you approach holiday shopping, is fine!
Shipping Could Be an Issue
At this point we’ve all probably experienced some type of shipping delay in 2020 due to pandemic-induced supply chain challenges. Who knew one of the big key phrases this year would be supply chain? In any case, shipping could be an issue during the holidays as well. Increased demand, a cost amplification on the side of shipping, and an influx in online shopping could cause some delays. Your best bet, shop early and be patient. Your package will arrive.
Locally Sourced Gifts
For those heading into an actual shop, they are likely heading into a small, local business. According to Think with Google, “66% of shoppers will shop more at local small businesses.” Many shoppers recognize the importance of supporting small businesses, as many have been hit hard over the past few months.
Shopping Safely Online Will Be Top of Mind
We’ve said it before, cyber criminals go where the opportunity is. And this year it’s online shopping. Staying vigilant and keeping cybersecurity in-mind while shopping will go a long way towards holiday joy. There are a few tips to keep in mind while shopping for that perfect gift:
- Shop with familiar, trusted stores.
- Make sure the website address indicates HTTPS or shows a lock next to it (on the left-hand side).
- Provide the least amount of information to make a purchase (stores do not need your social security number or your birth date).
- Use strong passwords, passphrases or a password manager.
- You may want to update existing passwords or passphrases before you jump in to shopping.
- Monitor your accounts – bank, credit card, PayPal, etc. Check them frequently to ensure the activity documented was done by you.
- Update your anti-virus software before you begin your shopping (this is not the time to click the “update later” button).
- Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi – hackers know how to hack into them.
Enjoying the Holidays
The holidays are not about the shopping, and they are not about the gifts. But it is a component of the season that has, in the past, caused unnecessary stress. Could this new era of holiday shopping add a bit more joy to our holidays? With the right safety precautions in place, it really could! Shopping from your home, potentially in your comfiest pj’s, while sipping delicious hot chocolate does sound joyful. Happy holidays, and happy (safe) shopping!