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Holiday 2020: How is GenC Shopping and Feeling this Season?

03 Dec 2020 Elizabeth McHugh

in Retail, Glimmer, Trending

GenC” refers to all of us who are affected long-term by COVID-19 and the complete disruption of everyday life. Now, as we enter the final month of 2020—with a fierce pandemic yet promising vaccine news—we wondered how this generation of consumers is thinking about and planning for the holidays. We asked Glimmer, our insights and influencer community, for real-time answers and consumer sentiment. It’s part of our continued daily conversation throughout this year; reach out if you have questions you’d like to pose.

The vast majority of the women in our community are planning smaller holiday gatherings or staying home entirely:

“This year, COVID-19 has our holidays looking very different. We are staying at home and celebrating just us—my husband, myself, and our kids. I will make the dinners I normally do, just on a smaller scale to keep some sort of normalcy to our lives and not have the kids miss out.”

“We are doing Zoom holidays.”

“I will be cooking at my house with immediate family only. No New Year’s plans except to leave 2020 behind!”

When asked about their approach to shopping, sentiments favoring small businesses and racial justice were evident:

“I did not start shopping yet, but will be supporting small businesses, especially Black businesses, when I do.”

As was the enormous shift to ecommerce (and Amazon):

“I’ve been shopping for gifts for months now, but I did also shop on Prime Day. There were so many good deals I did not want to pass up! This year I plan to do all my shopping online, or at stores that offer curbside pickup. It’ll be different this year as I always go in person, but who knows, maybe I’ll like it!”

Female consumers also indicated a much earlier shopping start, overall:

I started holiday shopping in late September. It's been on and off since. I'm trying not to wait until the last minute because life is so unpredictable these days.”

Data from Black Friday/Cyber Monday shows that our community is in line with broader trends across the consumer landscape this season:

  1. Both days broke ecommerce records: Black Friday grew 21.6% YoY to $9B and Cyber Monday sales rose 15.1% YoY to $12.7B. Though mammoth, both days did fall short of certain expectations, suggesting consumers spread their shopping out over a longer period—or spent less than anticipated
  2. Curbside pickup sales on Cyber Monday increased 30% YoY
  3. Shopify reported a Black Friday increase of 75% YoY, a boon to the many small- to medium-sized businesses on its platform
  4. Amazon announced that independent sellers on its platform sold $4.8B over the holiday weekend, a 60% YoY increase


What lessons does this blend of big-picture data and first-person insights offer brands?

  1. Continue with community: at home, consumers are seeking connection, education, and an escape. When it comes time to purchase online, consumers will choose the brands that have been engaging them, to which they have an emotional connection.
  2. Consumer insights are vital for message relevancy. The state of the pandemic changes weekly—often daily—and varies geographically. Brands need a real-time connection with consumers in order to speak to them in a relevant way. Our consumer data around plans for staying home exemplifies this need perfectly.
  3. Constantly re-assess your digital game. Consumers are shopping online, from multiple retailers; they are checking out on their phones and collecting curbside. Constant attention to digital strategy ensures that brands are at the right place, at the right time, informed by data.
  4. Shoppers are majorly mobile. 40% and 37%: the amount of total digital spend made from mobile devices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, respectively. Time spent with social media is increasing simultaneously with shopping capabilities on social platforms; UX and social engagement need to be brand priorities.
  5. Plan according to the new normal. Nine months into the pandemic, new consumer behaviors are now permanent shifts. Consumers have doubled down on ecommerce, convenience, and value.


As we enter 2021, we will continue to keep you abreast of consumer sentiment, so that your brand can stay informed.

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