By a show of hands, how many of you can say that you’ve spent too much money during this pandemic without even leaving the house?
Oh, you too.
Well, we know that Covid can be blamed for many things since February, and the easiest statistic we can throw it under the bus for is the staggering increase in online spending.
And you don’t need to be Sigmund Freud, or have a whole team of data scientists on-hand to understand why. For almost half a year now it feels like we’ve been existing rather than living. We’ve lost our freedom and our ability to live spontaneously. So we need something to feel good about, whether we’re allowed to leave the house or not.
For those of us lucky enough to still have expendable income, or at least some rainy day reserves – heads-up, it’s raining! – retail therapy has become a worthy, often solitary replacement for the joy we usually get from other areas of our lives.
It’s s unsurprising, then, that during this period our shopping behaviour has changed, which is an obvious and somewhat predictable reflection of the restrictions forced upon us.
With nowhere to go, sales of clothing and shoes are down whereas for home and garden improvement sales are through the roof. Similarly, restricted to an hour of prescribed exercise a day early on in lock-down initiated a surge in exercisers, and they continue to keep health and fitness clothing and accessories near the top of the retail product sector.
Now, with summer all but over, the next significant event in the consumer calendar in which many of us will seek much comfort, is Christmas. And with limited physical
bricks and mortar opportunities this year, the message is clear for online shoppers: buy early or miss out.
For retailers, the message should be clearer: get prepared.
Despite falling behind Black Friday in recent years in terms of raw sales, Christmas is still king of the holidays. And with Christmas gift buying anything goes, which means regardless of sector or trend demand is expected to be huge.
Just to be absolutely clear, however, we’re advising you not to leave your buying to the last minute. It doesn’t mean stockpiling all the loo rolls and dried foods you can get your hands on, because nobody wants those as gifts.
The great thing about the online space is that to a significant degree it’s not affected by what’s going on in the physical world. And as long as people have online access and a means to part with their money electronically, you can help yourself to a healthy piece of the turkey and cover it with lashings of gravy.
The message should also be: wait till after Black Friday and i’ll be too late.
So if you haven’t started already, prepare your websites, get your database in order, kickoff your marketing campaigns and generate the interest, because the opportunity is wrapped and under the tree already with a neat little bow waiting to be ripped open.