This pandemic holiday shopping season promises to be unlike most others — perhaps as unusual for retailers and consumers as anything experienced since the rationing, lack of new consumer goods and looming sense of loss during World War II. In that spirit, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has launched a nationwide consumer education campaign, New Holiday Traditions, to encourage consumers to shop safely and early amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is going to be a historic holiday season, and while some memorable traditions may change, the tradition of retailers supporting their customers and their communities is stronger than ever. That is why we encourage consumers to adopt two new traditions this year – shop safe and shop early – so we can all celebrate a happy and healthy holiday,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF. “Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them.”
November is historically the most popular month to start holiday shopping. Despite concerns related to the coronavirus, 43% of holiday shoppers surveyed this year said that they're waiting until November to start buying for the season, and a majority (59%) plan to shift more of their shopping online compared with last year, according to NRF’s annual consumer holiday survey.
Perhaps the main wild card in all that is the approach of Amazon’s delayed Prime Day e-commerce event this year. In 2019, it took place in July, during the relatively slow summer shopping season. This year, Prime Day will happen Oct. 13-14, with those deals coming just two weeks before Amazon reportedly kicks off its own Black Friday deals and formally launches its holiday shopping season. Whatever Amazon does, you can be sure that other retailers will follow or react.
“In a year that has been full of uncertainty, we encourage consumers to avoid the last-minute stresses of the holiday season like long lines and shipping delays,” Shay said. “Retailers are ready with inventory and sales, and there’s no reason to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to kick off your gift shopping.”
NRF’s New Holiday Traditions campaign will encompass advertising across digital and social media, radio, and Connected TV that will air from October through mid-November in target markets across the country.