Start thinking about Christmas shopping now

By Mallory Harris | Reporter

I get it, 2020 has been a tough year on relationships, money, school and everything in between. However, the happiest time of the year is quickly approaching, and one can never be too early in celebrating the Christmas spirit.

Especially this year, shopping for the holiday season will look completely different. It’s split across the board on what consumers will spend this year; as some have saved money from the lack of trips and vacations and others have been hit hard by the pandemic. According to Forbes, the one clear thing is that online shopping will explode within the market.

One of the predictions Forbes commented on was from a marketing firm named Forrester, a company that intends to put the customer first. From Forrester’s prediction, online sales are expected to reach historic records at around 20% market penetration in North America. From this, we can see that COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of online shopping and is making retailers develop new strategies for this upcoming holiday season.

An example of how retailers have adapted to a COVID-friendly environment is shown by Target, which is introducing reserved shopping appointments, according to The Washington Post. The company still plans on its online sales and “Drive Up” options being used for holiday shopping but anticipates the reservation slots will become an important outlet for multiple customers. While participating in seasonal hiring for both stores and warehouses, Target has shown impressive tactics in putting the customer’s safety first. As the face of shopping changes, Target understands the circumstances this year has presented and knows that this holiday season will set a precedent for future shopping expenditures.

While Target has taken extensive steps for their customer’s safety during normal holiday shopping, Walmart has started to take a look at its normal holiday sales. The company is spacing out its Black Friday deals across the month of November to give customers multiple opportunities to save and shop for those large Christmas items. Their first saving event is happening on Nov. 4th with more deals coming each week afterward.

Walmart is also starting a new membership plan that’s comparable to an Amazon Prime membership with free delivery options, saving plans and more. This new membership can introduce another new way of shopping for daily items like groceries, along with celebratory gifts. With Walmart being one of the first companies to announce its holiday deals, many consumers have started planning out their shopping trips and budgets with the new online and in-store setups.

For students on a college campus, the holiday season is mostly filled with final exams rather than shopping trips. However, I think with the earlier planning many companies are doing, students can take advantage of shopping in November rather than the week of finals. Also, with multiple stores heightening their online shopping platforms, students don’t have to leave campus to shop for their families, but rather can shop from their dorms.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, but planning ahead for Christmas can save so much time and energy that is desperately needed on schoolwork rather than holiday shopping. As online shopping is nothing new, the increased level of interaction and personalization that may happen this year can thoroughly make a difference in the level of holiday spirit.