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How Holiday Sales Will Be Different This Year

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Can’t believe the holidays are almost here? Neither can we!

While 2020 may have felt never-ending, it’s finally starting to wrap up. And with the holidays just around the corner, many of us will soon be searching for gifts and keeping an eye out for deals. But like so much this year, shopping for the holidays probably won’t look the same. 

What’s in store? For one, you may not have to worry about battling crowds in person this year. There will probably be fewer shoppers, and that could include less traffic on the notoriously busy days like Black Friday, CNBC reports. Still, more than half of Americans – 56% – plan to shop in-store for gifts this year, according to a survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs in September. 

The 2020 holiday shopping season may be kicking off even earlier, too. That’s one of the key takeaways from the annual Global Retail Conference that was hosted by Goldman Sachs in September.

Free shipping, but not so many promotions. If you’re looking for deals, they may be tough to find. This year is likely to be “less promotional,” Goldman Sachs analysts say, though some retailers could offer “targeted promotions” for shoppers who opt for curbside pickup or get their online orders in stores. 

Retailers could try to attract shoppers with free shipping, too, according to Goldman Sachs analysts. And that could be a draw: 91% of Americans plan to take advantage of free shipping offers from retailers, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Most Americans don’t plan to cut back much this year. Because of the pandemic, some people have curbed their spending, but those savings may not extend to holiday shopping. In the Marcus by Goldman Sachs survey we mention above, 66% of Americans said they will spend the same or more on holiday gifts in 2020 compared with 2019.

How much are we talking? Between gifts, decorations, food, and those “treat yourself” presents, Americans plan on shelling out $997.79 this year, according the NRF survey above. And that’s a decrease of only $50 or so from last year.

Money saved on travel could be shifted to shopping. A survey by Deloitte found that the amount of money Americans spend on travel is likely to fall by 34% compared with 2019. That said, consumers may direct some of that money to non-gift items to celebrate the holidays at home. 

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This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.