The 2020 holiday shopping season is shaping up to be unlike any other before.
Retailers started advertising holiday deals nearly a month earlier than in previous years to encourage shoppers to spread out their holiday shopping throughout the fourth quarter. Amazon moved its annual Prime Day event to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, buyers continue to shift their purchasing online due, in part, to social distancing measures remaining in place and the fact that many people still don’t feel comfortable going to crowded stores. In turn, this caused retailers to adjust their strategies to accommodate societal changes.
Retailers and buyers weren’t alone in making adjustments. The United States Postal Service (USPS) faced various hurdles with funding and operational changes, which led to retailers rethinking their shipping strategies. Meanwhile, the ongoing pandemic further complicated the logistics of running e-commerce warehouses.
Keeping with the trend of an earlier holiday season, Rakuten Intelligence also kicked off our holiday season early. This page will be updated weekly, each Tuesday, to showcase how this holiday season does (or does not) differ from last year.
Overall E-Commerce View
This data represents orders made between September 30, 2019 - December 29, 2019, and September 28, 2020 - November 17, 2020.
How much larger will the extended 2020 holiday shopping season be than last year?
E-Commerce overall growth year-over-year is 64.5 percent. The top 10 retail merchants make up 65.3 percent of the market, and their growth rates are as follows:
Specific merchant groups have seen the following growth:
These ten merchant groups make up 95.4 percent of dollars in this holiday season.
Will any of the other major merchant groups be able to compete with Amazon this year?
This data represents orders made between September 30, 2019 - December 29, 2019, and September 28, 2020 - October 26, 2020, and delivered as of November 17, 2020.
The extended holiday season and a global pandemic pose a new set of hurdles for shippers and retailers: more packages can easily increase shipping times. However, with extended Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the spike in packages that usually hits around the shopping holidays in previous years could be lessened and distributed throughout the entire shipping season.
Amazon has historically been the leader in fast shipping, but 2020 has proven that its warehouses had difficulty keeping up with demand with increased order volumes. Their delivery services could not fulfill the same percentage of their packages.
Will Amazon have to rely on other carriers this holiday season?
Expert Predictions for Holiday 2020
“We expect the holiday buying season for 2020 to be dynamic for a number of reasons. Baseline e-commerce activity has exploded this year, with many retailers registering triple-digit year-over-year gains. Going into the fourth quarter, retailers will need to have a good handle on every aspect of the business from supply chain to consumer returns to maximize market share and customer satisfaction.”
- Dave Gill, Vice President of Analytic Solutions at Rakuten Advertising
“Between the pandemic and challenges with just about every delivery channel, customers are leaning more and more on local pick up of orders. The 2020 holiday shopping season will look like no other. Yet a pleasant order-for-pickup experience will delight your customers - in an otherwise unpleasant period - by saving them time and stress. The time is now to perfect the technology and operations around pickup orders.”
- Jaron Waldman, Co-Founder + CEO of Rakuten Ready
“With Prime Day delayed to October 13th & 14th and merchants like Target & Walmart offering week-long sales – the Holiday shopping season has already begun and will end earlier. Delays in Purchasing & Manufacturing will separate winners from losers in Retail Sales more than ever. Retailers have shifted delivery networks to more regional carriers to overcome potential USPS disruptions. Amazon will achieve a new record and deliver over 60 percent of their own orders.”
To learn more about the data behind this article and what Rakuten Intelligence has to offer, visit www.rakutenintelligence.com.
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