Study: Supply chain, shipping issues could boost in-store holiday shopping

An increasing number of consumers are starting their holiday shopping early.

Consumers are not only shopping earlier than ever this holiday season, they are also altering their shopping behavior.

Almost six in 10 (58%) respondents in a consumer survey from shopping rewards app Shopkick said they are seeing higher shipping costs and 23% are already experiencing shipping delays.  As a result, 68% of all respondents are reconsidering how they will shop this holiday season. Also, 80% of respondents who shop online said that expected delays and high shipping costs could force them to reconsider how and where they make holiday purchases in 2021.

“In many ways, supply chain shortages and shipping delays are putting in-store retailers at an advantage this holiday season,” said Dave Fisch, GM of Shopkick. “Shoppers are headed in-store no matter what this holiday season, which means it is essential that retailers are prepared, offer a pleasant in-store experience with trained and available staff, and mandate COVID-19 safety precautions to ease shoppers discomfort and meet their expectations.” 

Survey respondents said product availability is the top  (44%) in-store shopping motivator, followed by immediate satisfaction of taking products home the same day (43%), ease of in-store price comparison (34%), getting inspiration from browsing aisles (33%), product assortment (24%) and in-person help from store associates (12%). 

To ensure in-store safety, respondents expect retailers to make employees wear protective face coverings (56%), offer disinfectants (52%), require shoppers to wear face coverings (51%), enforce social distancing measures (48%) and install plexiglass barriers at checkout (42%).

[Read more: Survey: Customers want to return to stores, safely]

The Shopkick survey confirmed other reports of early holiday shopping. Forty-percent of respondents have already begun their holiday shopping, and one-third are shopping for the holidays earlier than normal this year. The percentage of early shoppers has notably increased from 22% of respondents to a similar Shopkick survey released in August who said they will shop for the holidays early this year.

Of those reporting they are shopping earlier, 58% are doing so because of concerns around product inventory and to stay organized ahead of the holidays. More than half (53%) are doing so to avoid holiday crowds.

Other highlights from the survey are below.

• Three in 10 respondents are already experiencing limited product availability in-store and online, and almost six in 10 (58%) are seeing higher shipping costs.

• Slightly more than half (51%) are adjusting their budgets due to the threat of continued inflation.  

• Whether shopping online or in-store, consumers’ main motivation this holiday season is scoring the best prices and deals. Online shoppers are also motivated by the convenience of shipping and ease of returns (59%), saving time and avoiding checkout lines (52%), and product availability (50%).

Shopkick surveyed more than 37,000 U.S. consumers between Sept. 22 - 26, 2021 to gain insight on the impact that COVID-19 and the Delta variant will have on consumers this holiday season and when, where, and how they will be making their holiday purchases.

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