2020 Holiday Ecommerce News & Updates [October 2020]

Sarah Davis Content AuthorPublished September 14, 2020
Updated October 22, 2020




From the completely unexpected impacts of the coronavirus on ecommerce to the twists and turns of Amazon Prime Day 2020, this year has introduced a mix of obstacles and opportunities for all brands and retailers. With all of this year’s ups & downs, 2020’s holiday ecommerce shopping landscape will be like no other.

We’ll be keeping this blog post updated with all of the latest holiday ecommerce updates as they come in. Keep it bookmarked as your go-to resource for 2020 holiday ecommerce news!

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October 22 update

HOliday ecommerce fulfillment trends & stats

Shipping delays we saw at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic will likely return over the holiday ecommerce shopping season, with fulfillment and supply chain issues likely to crop up due to heightened demand. Receiving gifts on time is always of greater concern for shoppers over the holiday season, and it’s likely that shoppers’ priorities will revolve heavily around availability, shipping, and delivery times this year.

Salesforce predicts that up to 700 million holiday packages could be delayed this year due to shipping capacity being exceeded by 5% globally. Delivery surcharges between November 15 and January 15 are expected to reach $40 billion as a result.

To help avoid this time crunch and unhappy customers, stores with physical locations are expected to emphasize options like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup this year. BOPIS will increase digital revenue by an average of 90% for retailers this year compared to last year.

Brands can help support their customers during this time by updating website copy to remind shoppers to buy early and highlighting last ship dates.

October 20 update

Live with Google: Cyber-centric holiday success

Online holiday sales are expected to reach as high as $196 billion between November, December, & January.

With 2020’s extremely competitive ecommerce landscape, it’s more crucial than ever to have a strategy to succeed over Cyber 5, the entire holiday season, and beyond.

Join ROI and our expert partners from Google for a presentation and live Q&A on November 10th at 11 am ET to unearth strategies for Q4 and post-holiday success. You’ll discover:

  • Hidden keys and to improve customer acquisition and revenue pre- and post-Thanksgiving.
  • Underutilized December ecommerce strategies to convert more last-minute shoppers.
  • Post-holiday insights to prepare your brand for 2021 and beyond.
  • Best practices for reaching new customers through Google Shopping & YouTube.
  • Historical Cyber 5 data from enterprise brands you can leverage for 2020 growth.

Now is not the time to shift into neutral. Save your spot to put your foot on the gas and outpace your competition, accelerate your brand growth, and drive more profitable revenue.

October 16 update

Let the ecommerce holiday shopping ecommence!

With Amazon Prime Day 2020 wrapping up, what some might call the unofficial start to the holiday season has begun.

The deep discounts that major outlets started promoting alongside Prime Day are expected to continue in various forms from now until the end of the holiday season, with price being a main factor in consumer’s buying decisions this year.

Prime Day was the catalyst to Cyber 5-esque sales and discounts starting so early. As The Washington Post reports, these types of sales “will extend into December as retailers drop the ‘stampede mentality’ to contend with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Among the brands and businesses having “October Black Friday” sales are Target, Walmart, Jos. A Bank, Guess, Men’s Wearhouse, Old Navy, Gap, Best Buy, Banana Republic, Office Depot and Office Max, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

October 12 update

2020 holiday ecommerce stats

You don’t need anyone else to tell you that we’re approaching an unprecedented 2020 holiday shopping season. But what do the numbers say? We’ve collected some of the top 2020 holiday ecommerce stats. Check them out below:

  • US holiday mobile retail ecommerce sales will reach $71.31 billion this year, up from $59.62B in 2019 (Statista)
  • Up to 30% of US holiday retail sales will be made through digital channels (Salesforce)
  • Up to 10% of Cyber Week’s usual revenue will go to Amazon Prime Day (Salesforce)
  • Up to 700 million holiday packages are at risk of arriving late (Salesforce)
  • 59% of consumers plan to spend under $300 on holiday gifts this year, up 9% from 2019 (eMarketer)
  • 22% of US consumers plan to compare holiday gift prices more than usual this year (eMarketer)
  • 62% of shoppers plan to buy more stocking stuffer-type items and last-minute gifts online in 2020 (Voxware)

October 6 update

Black Friday deals starting earlier than ever in 2020

It seems holiday deals start earlier and earlier every year, with Black Friday deals historically encroaching into Thanksgiving.

But with the acceleration of ecommerce in 2020 and many consumers concerned about the safety of online shopping, many “Black Friday” deals are starting before Halloween.

Walmart is promising to “spread traditional Black Friday savings throughout the season and have more deals available online,” with Kohl’s starting Black Friday deals four weeks early. Target will start introducing holiday savings this month.

Not only do 56% of US consumers plan to shop for holiday gifts online this year, but 39% also plan to start shopping as early as October.

A previous rumor suggested that Amazon Black Friday would start on October 26, less than two weeks after Prime Day. However, a snippet pulled from a Google search for “Amazon Black Friday” reveals that their deals may be occurring on November 25 and 26. The page linked does not provide any additional information on Amazon Black Friday 2020.

September 29 update

Major retailers to shut doors for Thanksgiving shopping

Major brick-and-mortar retailers including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are shutting their doors for Thanksgiving shopping in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The holiday closings come as retailers work to avoid overcrowding their stores and allow all of their employees to have a day off.

Walmart was the first major retailer to announce it close on Thanksgiving. In a memo addressed to employees, Walmart stated in a news release that stores would be closed as a show of appreciation to Walmart associates, who have been deemed essential workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be the first time since the late 1980s that Walmart stores will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Six days after Walmart’s announcement, Target released a preview of its adjusted holiday plans, which include starting to roll out the biggest deals of the year in October to avoid large crowds of shoppers – an earlier start to holiday shopping than ever before.

Target’s plan also includes expanding same-day grocery delivery to accommodate for increased holiday demand.

Other retailers shutting their doors this Thanksgiving include Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kohl’s.

Many retailers will focus their efforts on curbside pickup this holiday season, with curbside pickup orders at retail stores surging 208% amid the coronavirus pandemic.

September 23 update

Key 2020 holiday ecommerce stats

58% of shoppers made online holiday purchases in 2019. This number will be even greater in 2020.

Holiday shoppers are already anticipating a further reliance on digital shopping this year. 73% of US shoppers say they’ll shop more online this year, with 77% saying they’ll browse for gift ideas online, not in store – a form of online window shopping.

This dramatic shift to digital and ecommerce is the biggest transformation we’ve seen since mobile transformation.

More consumers are solving their gifting needs online, and many are actually looking for new brands. 30% purchased from a brand that was new to them last holiday season, and nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to shop at local small businesses this holiday shopping season.

This year, 2 out of every 3 US holiday shoppers will shop early to avoid crowds and out-of-stock items. If 2020 is following similar trends to 2019, 1 out of every 4 US holiday shoppers have already started shopping for this holiday season. Most consumers will have 1/3 of their holiday shopping complete by Cyber 5. 

Impulse purchases will be less prevalent in 2020 due to COVID-19. Searches for “best affordable” have grown 60% YoY, indicating a larger shift in underlying consumer needs and behaviors. Consumers are seeking value through quality and price, looking for the best of both worlds.

September 14 update

Amazon Black Friday 2020

As one of the largest holiday ecommerce retailers, Amazon will reportedly launch Amazon Black Friday 2020 deals on October 26, according to TechRadar, Business Insider, T3, and others. Tamebay, a Markplaces news website, was the first to leak the news, but did not reveal the source of their information.

According to Tamebay’s report, the Amazon Black Friday 2020 will reportedly run for three weeks from October 26-November 19 – ending before the traditional Black Friday, which will happen on November 27 this year.

Prior to this information being leaked, brands selling on Amazon had supply chain & inventory concerns about Prime Day reportedly being postponed to October, not long before Cyber 5. Amazon Black Friday 2020 ending before Cyber 5 even begins poses additional inventory concerns.

This would mean a massive Q4 for Amazon, which means competing marketplaces like Target, Walmart, eBay, & Best Buy risk losing sales to the ecommerce giant. This rumor is yet another curveball thrown at brands and retailers in 2020 amidst coronavirus, Prime Day being postponed from July to October, and general global unrest & uncertainty.

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