‘Tis the season… but this year, everything is different.
As we flew past Halloween and move towards Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas, all eyes are locked on retail. After such a hectic year, what will this season’s holiday shopping look like?
The 2019-2020 Shift
Last year, even with e-commerce activity at an all-time high, eager shoppers still flooded to stores and malls to do their gift shopping. Despite tons of Cyber Monday shopping, Black Friday’s turnout was impressive across the country. 2019’s holiday shopping season marked a positive direction for CRE’s retail sector – which was much welcomed after a difficult year.
But, that momentum was shot as the pandemic swept through in 2020. Since then, nothing has been the same. As a result, many of those bright outlooks established in last year’s holiday shopping season have been muddied.
This year, anything can happen.
2020 continues to defy expectations. It’s difficult to predict the movements of consumers today, especially with so many different factors pushing and pulling shoppers in different directions. Even beyond sales volume and trending gift items, the commercial real estate market is eager to see how this holiday season plays out for brick and mortar.
To gain insight into the coming months of holiday shopping, let’s explore what experts are forecasting for this season:
Here’s What Experts Are Saying
With COVID still on the radar and social distancing concerns top of mind, consumers likely won’t be hitting the stores like they usually do.
At the same time, e-commerce brands are taking advantage of these pandemic-induced circumstances to win over shoppers during this year’s holiday season. Unbeatable deals, perks, near-instant shipping, and BOPIS will be boasted by online retailers.
All this considered, experts are calling for a major slowdown for in-person shopping this year. The majority of consumers are expected to conduct their holiday shopping on the web, funneling their sales towards e-commerce and away from physical retail.
Now that we know what the experts are predicting, let’s look at how retailers are responding. This is what CRE’s retail tenants are doing to prepare for this holiday season:
Boosting Online Infrastructures
The pandemic prompted even the smallest mom-and-pop shops to open up an online portal to extend their services online.
Now, as the holiday season looms overhead, CRE’s retail tenants are investing in their e-commerce capabilities. Being able to supplement their in-person sales with online transactions is vital for balancing business this year.
Setting Aside Space for Order Fulfillment
With online orders expected to rise alongside a sharp decline in shopper volume, stores are making room for order fulfillment. Portions of retail’s physical spaces will be devoted to inventory, packing, and shipping preparations.
Still Preparing to Welcome Shoppers
Retailers are preparing to welcome shoppers in-store with a pristine shopping experience. Even though the numbers might be lower, retail tenants are still optimistic. Safety, accessibility, and convenience are all major focus points as brands try to win back their foot traffic.
One thing is for sure, whatever unfolds for retail in the coming months has the power to initiate lasting trends for holiday shopping moving forward. Don’t take your eyes off of CRE’s retail sector.