Despite causing a marked shift in consumer spending and widespread disruption to the retail sector, the coronavirus pandemic does not spell the end of the holiday shopping season — but it is giving way to new trends.
According to a new analysis from The NPD Group, the categories that align with consumers’ current lifestyles — primarily centered on work- or play-from-home — will emerge as winners during the holidays. Beth Goldstein, executive director and accessories and footwear industry analyst, said that the rise in casual and cozy trends will bode well for footwear and accessories, which in August were down a respective 22% and 27% since March.
“The brand and items that tap into these trends are typically big holiday items anyway. As a result, I’m optimistic that footwear can make up some lost ground this holiday,” she wrote, adding that footwear sales are forecasted to decline in the mid-single digits during the fourth quarter, which is a “significant” improvement from year-to-date trends.
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Goldstein called out Crocs and Ugg as two of the brands that stand to benefit from an uptick in casual and comfort trends. She added that similar products will follow suit, including the newer crop of hybrid casual styles — those that combine slippers, shoes and sneakers. While fashion boots could remain soft, the analyst said that comfort-driven styles could get a boost as consumers spend more time outdoors during the winter amid the health crisis. She also expects slippers — which grew more than 50% in year-to-August sales — to stay strong, adding that the holidays are “already the biggest time of the year” for the category, “and this year it will be even bigger.”
Also today, Deloitte announced its “2020 Holiday Survey: Reimagining Traditions” report, which indicated that amid COVID-19 anxieties, shoppers plan to spend cautiously this holiday season — averaging $1,387 per household, down 7% from 2019.
According to the professional services firm, which surveyed more than 4,000 consumers across the country in mid-September, shoppers are expected to cut back on travel and other holiday experiences. Instead, they’ll shell out $435 per household on more non-gift items — accounting for nearly a third of household holiday spending and representing a 12% increase from last year.
“In this season of uncertainty, price, value and convenience continue to be top considerations for consumers, as is the desire to get creative with how they celebrate the season with family, friends and pets, no matter the circumstances,” said Rod Sides vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and its U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader. “As travel spend declines, retailers will likely benefit and should receive a higher percentage of total holiday spend. The key for retailers is to stay flexible and offer options that appeal to consumers’ changing behaviors and address their evolving needs. Those that do will likely be better positioned for a bright holiday season.”