Christmas Shopping Trends for 2020

By Lisa McGrimmon | Published Oct. 4, 2020
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The 2020 Christmas shopping trends report for handmade business owners shows you the holiday retail industry trends experts are forecasting to help you sell more crafts this year.

Holiday shopping behavior for 2020 is tough to predict. The year has brought massive changes in shoppers' spending habits and a lot of uncertainty.

Wrapped Christmas presents. Text - 2020 Christmas retail trends for handmade business owners.

Typically, business owners look at the previous year to help prepare for the upcoming year's Christmas shopping trends.

But I don't need to tell you, 2020 has been far from typical.

You can't simply look to last year's data to forecast what this year's holiday shopping season will look like. You can't assume your best selling Christmas crafts and your most effective marketing strategies from last year will be profitable this year.

While there is a lot of change and uncertainty, craft and retail trend forecasting experts have worked hard to understand emerging patterns in the way people will do their holiday shopping this year. They've come up with several Christmas shopping trend predictions to help you promote your business effectively in 2020.

2020 Christmas Shopping Trends

We'll take a look at: when people will start shopping for the 2020 holiday season, where they plan to shop, how much they plan to spend, and how key changes to the way people live and celebrate will impact shopping choices. We'll follow up the examination of Christmas shopping trends with some strategies craft business owners can put in place to respond to those trends.

Here are the key Christmas shopping trends to prepare for in 2020:

  • Holiday shopping will start sooner and last longer.
  • Online shopping has skyrocketed and will be extremely important for Christmas 2020.
  • Some holiday shoppers are motivated to support small and local businesses, and Black-owned businesses.
  • People plan to spend more than you might expect, but with an eye to value.
  • Changes to the way we live and celebrate will impact shopping and gift-giving.

Holiday shopping will start sooner and last longer in 2020

Don't wait until Thanksgiving to launch your holiday promotions. There are several factors pushing people to shop earlier this year. Retail trend forecasters predict the holiday shopping season will start in mid-October.

When asked when they will begin holiday shopping:

  • 38% of people surveyed say they will start shopping for gifts before Thanksgiving
  • 34% say they will start shopping on Thanksgiving (source Tinuiti)

Sources: I've noted the source of any data used throughout this article. There are links to all of those sources at the bottom of the page, so you can check out the research yourself if you want to take a deeper dive into the Christmas shopping trends that are forecast for 2020.

Black Friday will be quite different in 2020

Back in July, Walmart announced their stores would be closed on Thanksgiving, and several more major retailers followed suit. As a result, the fierce shopping in massive crowds that has characterized Black Friday sales of past years won't be as intense in 2020.

Amazon Prime Day will launch holiday shopping in October

Amazon Prime Day - Amazon's huge annual sales event - normally happens in July. This year, it has been postponed to October 13th and 14th.

Amazon is a massive retail influencer, and the rescheduling of Prime Day will almost certainly impact overall holiday shopping behavior.

The timing of Amazon Prime Day this year will likely put people in a holiday shopping and discount hunting frame of mind in mid-October, long before Black Friday. In fact, 44% of shoppers surveyed have indicated they will do some or all of their holiday shopping on Amazon Prime Day. (source Tinuiti)

Online shopping has skyrocketed and will be extremely important for Christmas 2020

Ecommerce growth has been massive in 2020, and it's not expected to go away even after the world returns to some semblance of normalcy.

People have discovered new ways to shop online, and many love it. (Hello, online grocery shopping, where have you been all my life?)

The online shopping trend that started at the beginning of this year will continue into the Christmas shopping season. 49% of people surveyed have indicated they will do their holiday shopping either entirely online or mostly online this year. (source Tinuiti)

Opportunities for Small Business Owners

Amazon by far overshadows all other online shopping sites. 78% of people plan to do at least some holiday shopping there. (source Tinuiti) In spite of that, the Christmas shopping trends forecasts reveal there are opportunities for small business owners online.

People are shopping online in new ways and are looking for and willing to shop at smaller retailers' sites that they haven't previously visited.

Here's what the numbers say about consumers shopping small retailers online:

  • 33% of people have discovered new, small retailers online in 2020 
  • 83% plan to continue shopping online with these new retailers

(source Criteo holiday 2020 mini guide)

I see my own shopping habits in this trend. I'm buying holiday gifts online from some of my favorite craft show vendors. I would normally shop their booths at Christmas craft shows, but I'll be buying from their websites this year. I'm happy to know I can buy my favorite handmade items without going into a crowded space and support small and local businesses.

Etsy's popularity is holding steady

12% of people plan to shop for holiday gifts on Etsy this year, which is almost the same as last year. Women and shoppers under 40 are most likely to shop for gifts on Etsy. (source Tinuiti)

holiday shoppers are motivated to support causes

While mass online merchants will get the bulk of holiday shopping dollars spent this year, many shoppers are also motivated to spend their money to support businesses that reflect their values.

Shop Local, and Shop Small

The convenience and deals Amazon can offer may be the top factor driving people's choices about where to shop. But a desire to support small and local businesses is the second most important factor driving consumers' decisions about where they will spend their money.

25% of shoppers say they plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping at local and small businesses. (source Tinuiti)

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

21% of shoppers say the Black Lives Matter movement will impact their holiday purchases, reporting they will shop more at Black-owned businesses and businesses that have pledged support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Younger shoppers and women are most likely to say they plan to support Black-owned businesses and businesses that are sincerely committed to racial diversity. The same shoppers are also more inclined to support local and small businesses. (source Tinuiti)

People plan to spend more than you might expect, but with an eye to value

When I started researching 2020 Christmas shopping trends, I assumed I'd find that people planned to spend less on holiday gifts this year. Happily, for business owners, I was wrong.

In fact, 81% of shoppers surveyed said they would spend as much as they spent on holiday gifts last year or more. In addition, 31% of people plan to spend $500 or more in 2020 compared with 27% in 2019. That's a 15% increase in shoppers with large holiday budgets. (source Tinuiti)

Cost is an important motivator

While spending plans overall have not decreased compared with 2019, people are still feeling the effects of the uncertainty that has been created in 2020. That sense of uncertainty is showing itself in people's strong motivation to look for competitive prices, sales, and free shipping.

When asked about factors that influence their holiday shopping choices, the three factors ranked most important are about cost: price, discounts, and free shipping. (source Tinuiti)

Changes to the way we live and celebrate will impact shopping and gift-giving

People are living, socializing, and celebrating differently in 2020. Those changes will impact Christmas shopping trends as well as Christmas style trends in 2020.

While spending more time at home, people have cultivated new hobbies - certain crafts, for example - which may influence Christmas wish lists.

People have also changed the way they socialize and many will celebrate the holidays in different ways this year. Holiday celebrations will be smaller, some people will be preparing holiday meals and celebrations in their own homes for the first time, and others will attend virtual celebrations.

35% of people say they will attend fewer holiday get-togethers, and many will limit their travel. With limited opportunities to see family and friends in person, 18% of shoppers say they will have gifts delivered instead. (source Tinuiti)

Key Takeaways to Sell More Crafts This Christmas

Overall, shoppers are prioritizing low cost and convenient online shopping, which will make Amazon the biggest winner for holiday shopping dollars in 2020. However, beyond that trend, there are secondary trends handmade business owners can capitalize on to sell more crafts this Christmas.

Launch your holiday sales strategies early - If the Christmas holiday trends forecaster for 2020 are right - and I believe they are - holiday shopping is going to start heating up in mid-October

Invest in growing your business online - Online shopping has grown immensely. It's not a passing fad, and shoppers are more open now than before to try shopping at new online stores.

Promote your company as a small, local business - Many shoppers are committed to help small and local businesses survive through this unprecedented year. Keep in mind, the "shop local" sentiment can extend beyond your city to your state and country.

Highlight your sincere commitment to diversity - If your business demonstrates an absolutely sincere commitment to diversity that's backed up by real action, let your customers know. Do not fake it!

Consider offering discounts or free shipping - Discounting items, or absorbing the cost of offering free shipping can be tough for small business owners. But if you do have room in your pricing to allow for discounts while remaining profitable, consider this strategy. It will be an important draw for holiday shoppers in 2020.

If you sell online, consider offering gift wrapped delivery to the recipient's address - This year, holiday shoppers need to solve the problem of getting gifts to recipients they won't see in person. Gift wrapped delivery directly to the recipient solves this problem and may be enticing to many shoppers this year.

Consider creating products that reflect people's new lifestyles - Creating a craft kit suitable for beginners in your craft may help you capitalize on peoples' renewed interest in hobbies, or marketing a bundle of your products as a care package (delivered directly to the recipient) may be very appealing to holiday shoppers who won't travel to see loved ones this year.

Forecasting Trends in the Retail Industry

Here are the sources I've used for this article.

I didn't include all of the findings from each report. Instead, I focused on the topics most relevant to craft business owners. You can access these reports yourself if you'd like to read more about what to expect this holiday season.

Criteo - Black Friday Trends

Criteo - Ecommerce Trends 

Criteo - Holiday 2020 Mini Guide - There's useful data on this page as well as a link to download a free PDF with more Christmas shopping trends predicted for 2020. 

Tinuiti - Holiday 2020 Shopping Trends Report - You need to provide a lot of information to access this 47-page report, but it is full of useful data.

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