How COVID-19 Will Impact Holiday Shopping This Year

We all know that the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has impacted daily life in 2020, from our social lives to our work days, parenting routines, and more. Given all this, the pandemic has influenced consumers’ shopping habits as well -- from groceries to shoes, workout gear to take-home cocktails, and more. Subscription boxes, which send necessary supplies, helpful pick-me-ups, and fun experiences straight to a subscriber’s door, is no exception.

In September, the team at Cratejoy worked with a third party to survey more than 12,000 consumers regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their shopping habits and holiday gift-giving plans. Survey respondents comprised preexisting Cratejoy customers as well as men and women new to the brand to ensure a broader understanding of current shopping trends and gift-giving intentions going into the 2020 holiday season.

What We Learned

For one thing, the holiday shopping season is likely to start earlier than the traditional post-Thanksgiving rush. More than 50% of consumers reported that they will start shopping for holiday gifts in October, if they have not already started.

Moreover, COVID-19 has influenced which gifts people are looking for. The top 5 gift categories that gift givers are shopping for revolve around activities to have fun and/or learn new skills at home: hobbies, crafts, books, cooking, and board games.

These findings are due, in part, to a more mindful perspective on gift-giving. Shoppers want to give gifts that show how well they know their loved ones and how much they care, rather than prioritizing a price point, discount, or convenience (including last-minute flexibility).