The Christmas season is a special event that we get to spend time with friends and family. It's time to share gifts and create memorable moments. Things have been tough since the beginning of 2020, with the COVID pandemic and all. It hasn’t been easy for most people trying to live in lockdown. And because of that, the shopping season is going to be different this year with a decline in brick and mortar shopping and a change in consumer behavior.
Shopping Starts Early This Year
According to a recent survey, 25 percent of respondents stated that they were likely to start their holiday shopping earlier than usual in 2020. Even Amazon and other retailers announced that Black Friday Sale will come early this year, with some starting as early as November 8. And with this year’s shipping deadlines, you’d want to do your Christmas shopping early to have the items delivered in time.
Shopping Has Shifted Online
With some regions starting to report a resurgence of coronavirus cases, and the looming winter season sparking fears of more COVID spread, this year’s shopping season will be different than anyone has ever seen. Many consumers would rather stay at home and browse the web for their holiday gifts this year. Deloitte predicts that holiday e-commerce sales may surge by 25 percent to 35 percent, amounting to between $182 billion to $196 billion, compared with year-over-year growth online of 14.7 percent in 2019, when sales amounted to $145 billion. As you may have noticed, retailers are preparing for the hike in traffic and demand this holiday season. Bed & Bath, for instance, rolled out same-day delivery while Gap is increasing the number of workers in their call centers and warehouses. Others like Best Buy and Target are pushing for curbside pickup options for online orders to help consumers quickly retrieve their items while saving the companies money that would otherwise be spent on extra packaging and shipping.
Why Start Holiday Shopping Early?
Consumers should expect product shortage this year, and experts recommend starting shopping as early as now. But the main reason why you should shop early this holiday season is because of shipping delays. Karl Haller, partner, and retail industry expert at IBM Global Business Services states that, “We expect to see continued pressure on shipping, as more packages flow through the system. We have already seen some of the major carriers impose fees on package shipping in anticipation of this.” Haller adds that IBM expects further increases in delivery options like package lockers, curbside pickup, and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS). Amazon and other big online retailers are also preparing for the high holiday demand, with Amazon and FedEx reporting that they'll be adding a new transportation network and hiring 100,000 and 70,000 new employees respectively. With that in mind, here some of the benefits of starting Christmas shopping early:
It's Less Stressful
You don’t want to be the last-minute person, since it increases your chances of panic buying. Plus, you won't have enough time to fully enjoy the magic of the holiday. The biggest advantage of shopping early is that you’ll no longer have to worry if your gifts will arrive in time. On top of that, you’ll have plenty of time to exchange if it's damaged or it’s the wrong package.
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Take Advantage of Black Friday Deals
As Christmastime draws nearer, prices of certain items can shoot up due to demand. That’s why you should take advantage of sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you see something that you love, get it now at a hugely discounted price instead of buying later at the full price.
More Time for Planning Other Things
While shopping is one of the top activities during the holiday season, you still have other things to do like organizing for events, preparing cards to send, planning food to cook, and parties to attend. When you shop early, you can stay on track rather than be caught up in the holiday preparation chaos.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines
In light of what's predicted to be heavier-than-usual shipping demands this year, if you want your gift to arrive by Christmas Day, here are the deadlines for some of the biggest shipping companies according to USPS’ recently released dates and EasyShip.
Important note: Keep in mind that the dates below are guidelines and they may change based on demand as the big day approaches.
- FedEx Ground/Home Delivery: Saturday, December 19
- FedEx Express Saver: Monday, December 21
- FedEx 2Day: Tuesday, December 22
- FedEx Overnight: Wednesday, December 23
- USPS Retail Ground: Thursday, December 15
- First-Class Mail: Friday, December 18
- Priority Mail: Saturday, December 19
- USPS Priority Mail Express: Wednesday, December 23 UPS