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Google: The five big shifts in holiday shopping behavior are…

An adjustment in the timing of Cyber Monday is just one significant change Google predicts will occur during the 2020 holiday shopping season.

Google is releasing a new holiday guide for retailers advising them of five major shifts in how consumers are shopping for the holidays this year. Following is a brief overview of each change Google says retailers must be ready for – a monthlong Cyber Monday, digital newcomers driving growth, a shew toward online SKUs, purpose-driven shoppers, and “something new and something known.”

1.    Monthlong Cyber Monday
The Monday after Thanksgiving is colloquially known as “Cyber Monday” and is usually the busiest single online shopping day of the year. In 2019, Adobe Analytics estimated Cyber Monday sales rose almost 19% year-over-year to reach $9.4 billion

However, Google advises that in 2020, shoppers are seeking deals due to tighter budgets and starting holiday shopping sooner. According to Google data, as of the end of August, 27% of U.S. shoppers said they have already started their holiday shopping; and in June, searches for “best affordable” had grown globally by over 60% year-over-year.

2.    Digital newcomers drive growth
Google cautions that more consumers are using digitally-enabled tools and buying online for the first time, and will continue to do so. Analysis from Google indicates more than 50% of shoppers surveyed in March tried a new shopping service for the first time; and in May, searches for “best grocery delivery” had grown globally by over 700% year-over-year.

3.    SKUs skew online
According to Google, shoppers are browsing and researching online more than ever and using that information to plan their store visits. Google studies indicate that searches for “fashion online shopping” are up 600% year over year for the March-May period; and as of May, searches for “available near me” have grown globally by over 100% since 2019.

4.    Purpose-driven shoppers
Google suggests consumers are looking to help each other by supporting local businesses and by shopping with retailers who represent their values. In fact, 46% of U.S. shoppers surveyed by Google in June agreed that “I make a deliberate effort to shop at businesses that align with my values.” Relatedly, Google research reveals that searches for “support local businesses” grew globally by more than 2,000 times year-over-year in the July-August timeframe.

5.    Something new and something known
While shopping online, Google says consumers are willing to buy from new brands to get what they want, but are still seeking safety and familiarity. For example, a study released by Google shows that during the pandemic, almost one-third of U.S. shoppers had purchased from a brand that was new to them as of June. But when it comes to shopping in store, 35% of U.S. shoppers surveyed by Google in September said they only shop at stores they are familiar with.

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