As the holiday season approaches, there are growing questions about how shopping on vacation will begin. In recent years, shopping has started on Black Friday Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, but this year shoppers are shy of the big event. The latest Accenture Holiday Shopping survey shows customers are minimizing in-store shopping and choosing to have home delivery. It also shows that shoppers would prefer stores to stay closed on Thanksgiving.
According to the survey, 76% of consumers want retailers to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day, and half of those surveyed said retail workers deserve a say. Another 61% of respondents said they plan to minimize in-store shopping this year and that they would most conveniently shop in stores that have high levels of concern about health, safety and hygiene practices.
Concerns about health and safety in retail stores have been a constant challenge for retailers. The CDC has issued strict guidelines for shoppers this holiday season, advising consumers to stay home as much as possible and avoid in-store purchases. For Black Friday shopping, the CDC recommends "shopping online rather than in person the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday" website.
The survey also showed more of a consumer social concern for retail workers and a preference for supporting companies that have shown support for workers. Of those shoppers planning to minimize in-store shopping, all said they want to reduce the risk for key workers, and 41% said they will not buy from retailers who are stopping worker benefits due to the pandemic fired or reduced. On the flip side, 57% of respondents said they would be more likely to buy from a retailer that is helping employees through the pandemic. In addition, 40% of consumers plan to support minority businesses this year.
While consumers minimize online shopping and hold retailers accountable, many are also increasing expectations of retailers' services. While most retailers offer roadside collection, consumers want home delivery and 77% of respondents said retailers offer these options. Only 11% of respondents said they were ready to collect in-store purchases, and 79% of respondents said they expected both fast and free delivery.
In many ways, these trends will force retailers to adapt to the new market and introduce guidelines for e-commerce and home delivery. "They need to build resilience and agility into their networks and those of their partners in order to face rising delivery costs and avoid problems in the supply chain," said Brooks Kitchel, director of the retail sector for Accenture Strategy, in a statement.
Of course, online shopping and home delivery aren't the only ways to attract customers. Accenture recommends retailers consider appointment-based shopping, and 62% of respondents said they would use such a service.
Retailers are already having problems this year. In 2020 29 retailers have filed for bankruptcy and 11 filed in the summer months alone. As a result, this year could rival 2010 in terms of retail bankruptcies. The holiday season will be a counting moment for many retailers who will either find their way through this crisis or not.