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Retail Industry Updates Supply Chain Industry Updates

It’s Gonna Be a Curbside Christmas

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Depending on where you live, will there be snow on Christmas morning? Depending on your behavior this year, will you be on Santa’s “nice” list?

Sorry, no idea. (In the spirit of the season, we will assume you’ve been mostly nice.)

However, one thing you can depend on is that this year’s holiday season will be … different.

Now, you can’t act surprised because, after all, this is 2020 we’re talking about. But you might be relieved to know that Deloitte today announced that “COVID-19 isn’t canceling the holiday season.” (Phew!)

The consulting firm forecasted that consumers will spend more cautiously this year, but spend they will, to the tune of $1,387 per household, which is down 7% from 2019. Continuing COVID concerns mean that socializing away from home and traveling will take a holiday of a different sort this year, but the typical household will spend $435 on non-gift items to celebrate from home, an increase of 12%.

It’s no surprise that people won’t be rushing to malls. Instead, Deloitte said 73% of consumers plan to have items delivered, and the use of curbside pickup is expected to more than double from last year. Overall, the average shopping window is expected to be 1.5 weeks shorter this year, which means efficiency will be a top priority for shoppers.

The good news for you? “As travel spend declines, retailers will likely benefit and should receive a higher percentage of total holiday spend,” Rod Sides, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader, said in a statement. “The key for retailers is to stay flexible and offer options that appeal to consumers’ changing behaviors and address their evolving needs. Those that do will likely be better positioned for a bright holiday season.”

The challenge for you? Well, you know how you’ve been working extra hard this year to adjust your operations to the e-commerce boom? It’ll be like that, but on steroids. (Some people even have started calling it “shipageddon.”)

“More shoppers are turning to contactless shopping options … for safety and convenience,” noted Stephen Rogers, executive director of the Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center. “This holiday season is going to test even the best supply chains and logistics. Retailers who successfully address last-mile requirements this season will like what they find in their own holiday stocking.” 

Thankfully, most organizations have already been beefing up their operations, so this shouldn’t be too much of a lift for them. Unless they approach the supply chain the way some people approach their holiday shopping: at the last minute.

In that case, you might want to soothe yourself as you burn the midnight oil in Santa’s workshop (i.e., your company’s fulfillment center) by listening to this Deloitte podcast about the history of holiday retail trends. Everybody knows the holidays and nostalgia are a nice mix.

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