What's Selling in 2020's Holiday Season


Retail Dive | December 14, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of consumers' lives. How consumers spend their money during the pandemic and into the holiday has taken a shift from experiences to comfort.


Looking at the overall holiday season, what consumers actually bought doesn't look a whole lot different than what sold well at the start of the pandemic. "Reason being the consumer is now living in what we call a 'here and now' lifestyle," NPD Group's Chief Retail Analyst Marshal Cohen.

Sales of home products grew 39% in October compared to last year. Sales momentum is expected to continue, growing some 15% year over year during Q4, according to a NPD report. Kitchen electrics, non-electric housewares, home environment appliances and personal care appliances are all projected to experience dollar growth from last year.

Toys have been challenged with the lack of movie releases this year. Certain products, like Barbie Dreamhouse and chess sets, have seen significant growth after the Netflix releases of "Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures" and "The Queen's Gambit".

Video games has been one of the most popular categories as the much-anticipated new Xbox and PlayStation models were released. With more consumers looking for entertainment from home, it isn't just teenagers playing. For consumers between the ages of 45 and 54, time spent gaming increased 59%, while dollar amount spent rose 76%. And for those between 55 and 64, time increased 48% and money spent was up 73%, per the report.

Pet retailers, have continued to benefit through the fourth quarter. Chewy, coming out of record third quarter sales growth, had its biggest sales days in company history over Black Friday and Cyber Week. More consumers are turning to their pets, or becoming first-time pet parents, as they seek out comfort during these times of uncertainty.

"I think there are industries that are challenged right now, like the fashion industry, but once we get out of this, what I call 'social recession' and we go to events, we start to go to work, we do things outside of the home again, you'll see some of these industries begin to recover," Cohen said.


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