The holiday season is in the home stretch, and we’re expecting US online holiday sales this year will top $173 billion — or fully 24% more than last year. Bizrate Insights surveyed shoppers to find out how they are shopping this year. With just a week left, some key takeaways from their data indicates that:

  • Spending budgets will be at both ends of the spectrum. About 37% of US online shoppers expect to spend less than $500 this year. Another 29% expect to spend over $900. What all consumers are still looking for this holiday season: empathy. So regardless of how much a customer is spending with you this year, show customers how you’re prioritizing their safety and convenience, especially if they still have in-store shopping or pickup to do in the next week. And if you offer them, promote shopping services such as Best Buy’s shopping experts and shopping appointments at Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Many shoppers will spend the same as last year. Over half (54%) of US online shoppers are planning to spend about the same as last year. Of the 29% who said they were planning to spend less, one-third said it was because of uncertainty around their job or the economy. Other factors for lower holiday budgets this year include lower income, needing fewer things this year, and increased overall expenses. As consumers rush to finish their holiday shopping, test offering bundles of customer-favorite products, and try localizing your offers and promoting conveniences such as extended hours for curbside pickup.
  • Shoppers are heading online earlier this year. Two-thirds of US online shoppers agreed that they plan to order online for the holidays earlier this year than last year — and that’s because of late deliveries in 2019. However, fears of late deliveries this year aren’t enough to send shoppers to the stores: Only 34% of shoppers agreed that they planned to shop in stores more than online this year for that reason. Assuage your customers’ concerns by keeping them regularly posted with updates on delivery time frames, especially if you do foresee potential delays. And personalize your messages with relevant information, like assembly or operating instructions for items such as toys, appliances, and furniture.

For more insights, please follow Forrester’s Holiday 2020 blog series.

(written with Brandon Shaik, research associate)