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2020 Holiday Sales: How, Where and When Consumers Are Buying

By Katherine Riley 

The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the 2020 holiday shopping season, with more people buying gifts online and fewer visiting stores. Retailers pushed discounts into October and put their Black Friday deals online. The big shift to e-commerce will test shipping networks in December.

The Wall Street Journal is tracking how consumers are spending their money this year. See how the holiday retail season is unfolding below.

Credit Cards

Data from credit-card transactions show that while shoppers are spending about the same amount of money in person as they did last year, they are spending more online. On Black Friday, electronics stores saw almost four times as much revenue from online credit-card purchases as they did in 2019.

Other data trackers say U.S. shoppers are spending less than last year. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, consumers spent an average of just under $312 on holiday-related purchases from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, down 14% from 2019 but on par with 2018.

Foot Traffic

Although foot traffic at retail outlets hasn't returned to pre-pandemic levels in much of the country, the fall-off in in-person shoppers is particularly pronounced compared with the usually bustling holiday season. With many stores -- including big retailers like Target Corp., Walmart Inc. and Macy's Inc. -- closed on Thanksgiving Day this year, that holiday saw the most drastic drop in foot traffic.

Discounts

Much of the retail landscape has been upended this year, but it remains to be seen whether the migration to online spending will change the retail calendar. Amazon.com Inc. held its annual Prime Day event in October, and other retailers started promoting holiday deals that month -- early indications that the season might last longer than in years past.

Packages and Shipping

The shipping sector has seen a surge in both demand and capacity since the beginning of the pandemic, and logistics executives expect carriers to handle a record volume of packages this holiday season. According to data from ShipMatrix, a software company that analyzes shipping data, 273 million packages were shipped by the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. during the week of Thanksgiving, an increase of 43 million from the same week last year.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 03, 2020 07:14 ET (12:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.