JDA: Five trends to watch in 2020

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Trade war, returns, and sustainable shipping are just some of the issues on consumers’ minds as 2020 begins.

According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers from enterprise solutions provider JDA, there are five key consumer trends retailers should prepare for in 2020. Following is a brief overview of each trend, with supporting data.

Growing trade war concerns
End-of-year holiday shopping trends indicate that Chinese tariffs and their potential effect on retail prices impacted many consumers’ budgets and will continue to do so in 2020. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents stated that they planned to spend significantly to slightly less in 2019 on holiday shopping. 

Increased focus on returns
Paying to return packages by mail (30%), requiring a receipt (17%), and narrow returns windows (15%) are the biggest inconveniences to respondents when it comes to reverse logistics. JDA predicts that with online shopping on the rise, retailers who make the returns process as easy as possible for the consumer will thrive. 

The company advises that retailers can help minimize returns by using
artificial intelligence (AI) to establish “returns-conscious” pricing, where items are priced according to what most effectively decreases their likelihood of being returned, reducing the overall costs associated with returned items.

Social media advertisements driving sales
Most respondents primarily receive advertisements from their favorite brands on social media (36%), followed closely by email (35%). More than half of those respondents who primarily receive advertisements from brands on social media have made a purchase from a brand after seeing an advertisement on social media.

Sustainable shipping options
More than half of respondents consider the environmental impact of their chosen delivery method when making purchases online. Thirty-nine percent sometimes consider the impact and adjust to eco-friendly options, while 12% always consider the environmental impact and select more eco-friendly options.

Nearly one-third third of respondents (31%) claim to already have eco-friendly shipping habits, grouping deliveries whenever possible. After informing participants about the impacts of delivery on the environment, an additional 30% are now planning to group their orders more often to reduce their carbon footprint. Twenty-seven percent of respondents do not plan to make any changes to their delivery habits after learning about the impact of delivery on the environment.

Holiday shopping staples stand their ground
When shopping for family and friends during the 2019 holiday season, participants were most likely to buy clothing (25%), followed closely by gift cards (24%), the latest electronics (22%), educational gifts (16%), experiences (12%) and subscription-based gifts (less than 1%). 

Most younger respondents ages 18-29 (31%) and 30-44 (26%) were primarily looking to buy clothing for family and friends, while the majority of older respondents ages 45-60 (29%) and 60-plus (37%) were looking to buy gift cards.