9 Tips for Holiday Shopping in COVID Times
We refuse to use the words “strange,” “unprecedented,” or “uncertain” one more time in 2020! But when describing this year’s holiday shopping season, let’s just say it will be like none other before in the history of holiday shopping! Mad dashes to the mall are highly discouraged, extended store hours are likely not to happen, and complete hassle-free shipping is something we can only dream about. However, going into the holiday season, there are still ways to prepare yourself as best as you can. We’ve compiled a list of nine things to keep in mind as we head through November and soon enough, December. Remember, nabbing the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list always feels like a home-run, but this year let’s prioritize everyone’s safety above all else!
Start Now…LIKE NOW!!
We dare say even stop reading this blog and get to work! But don’t do that, because we are going to offer so much insight and tips to make your holiday shopping much easier. So keep reading (then get shopping)!
Now that we are in November, time is ticking! A lot of North American retailers are honoring the fact that the holiday shopping season must start earlier this year, and therefore, are offering their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in October and early November!  With in-person shopping being a luxury of the past, online shopping will be the way to go this year. With everyone online shopping, shipping will become an absolute nightmare. With shipping being an absolute nightmare, you run the risk of not having gifts to put under the tree by Christmas time and definitely no wiggle room for quick returns or exchanges.
We’ve been encouraged all year to stay home and avoid going out for anything that isn’t deemed essential. As much as holiday shopping seems essential, there are ways to do it safely. 2020 isn’t the year for door crashers, tight aisle at the store, and long lines at the cash registers to get the most out of your holiday shopping. With many retailers having to make the intentional transition to online sales to stay afloat this year, most of your favourite brands and stores are now at your fingertips. To avoid Black Friday doorbusters, companies are expected to try and intentionally steer many shoppers to their websites to avoid in-store crowds and chaos .
COVID-19 has really been an accelerator in the already existing trend we see retailers making from brick and mortar stores to an online shopping platform. The effects of the pandemic on holiday shopping could last well into the future and things may never be the same again for retailers. As Jeff Doucette of Field Agent Canada states, “I think that’s going to affect brick and mortar retailers a lot over the coming years,” seemingly reiterated what we’ve all suspected for some time now .
To further this point, a study conducted by Salesforce Inc. showed that 58% of consumers said they expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than they did before it . It’s obviously clear that online shopping is here to stay.
Check Where Your Purchases Are Shipping From
Need a quick decision-maker when deciding between two products to purchase online? Check where the product is shipping from and its estimated shipping date. This really could make all the difference in taking stress off your plate and actually confirming that you’ll have something to wrap before Christmas morning.
Knowing full well that shipping will be a nightmare this year due to EVERYONE shopping online, when you can, choose online options that are shipping from your own country or close by . But if trans-Atlantic flights are required to get your product to you, expect delays, or setbacks, in the hustle and bustle of the busiest time of the year so shop as early as possible!
And there’s more than just online sales to consider. With more than 40% of holiday shoppers shipping most of their gifts (whether bought online or in-person) due to the fact that they won’t be traveling to see family and friends because of the pandemic, this will also add to normal shipping traffic .
Go with Products Over Services or Experiences
A common theme for those “hard to buy for” people on our list is to gift them experiences over physical things. This has also been a conscious decision for many who try and avoid conspicuous consumption and contributing less to retail waste. As much as we love this idea, 2020 has proven to not be the year for such things.
Depending on where you live in the world (for the Lux team, that’s mainly Toronto, Canada), fancy restaurants, concerts, entertainment experiences, spa days, and trips are currently on pause. And while we definitely want to stay optimistic about what the future holds, we cannot be certain that these types of luxuries will be accessible to us for some time. While you can find loopholes and definitely want to support local businesses, a gift card or certificates may be hard to use for the foreseeable future for most. It may be the easier option to gift your loved ones physical products over I-owe-you experiences.
While You’re Stuck at Home, Shop Around
Since we are all being encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, it has created a lot more free time for some. Without the commute to work, the holiday parties, the weekend getaways, the vacations, and the hours of shopping at the mall, we have more time now than ever to thoroughly shop around. Compare deals, prices, shipping estimates, and everything else from the comfort of your own home.
Shopping around online will save you a lot of time and money as opposed to doing it in-person. With the world at our fingertips, there’s really no excuse this year!
If You Have to Shop In-Person, Avoid Peak Hours When Possible
We feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. If there was something we had to get use to in 2020 it was lines. Lines to get groceries, lines at the gym, lines at our favourite stores; and that wasn’t even during a peak shopping season! To avoid this (and the great moods everyone in these lines will be in!) try to avoid peak shopping hours like evening and weekends. Take it one step further by avoiding peak places like major shopping centres and scout out places to shop local. Not only are local shops less chaotic then the over-populated shopping centres, you’ll find some real treasurers in a potentially quieter part of town!
To expand on our previous point, you may need to get more creative with avoiding the Christmas crowds this year. More importantly, 2020 has been the toughest on small businesses. Amazon does not need more of your money this year, but the small mom and pop store in town does! Not only does it truly mean something special to someone when you shop local, but it’s much more likely that you’ll find something super unique as well!
You know we always encourage sustainable shopping practices whenever we can, since that is what our business is built around. There may be some real holiday gems just waiting to be discovered!
Give Yourself a Deadline
We know it sounds stressful to give yourself a “deadline”, but honestly, this year you need it! Seemingly middle-ground shoppers (not super early, not super last minute), might give themselves a deadline of mid-December to have all of their shopping done. This year, we recommend being done by December. With shipping potentially being an ordeal and a mad-dash to the mall a lot more risky this year, you have to take all of this into consideration for your own sake. 2020 has been stressful enough; don’t end it on a stressful note for the sake of scrambling to fit in all your holiday shopping last minute.
From all of us at Lux Second Chance, we wish you a happy holiday shopping season and love and blessings going into 2021! Remember, we are always just a few clicks away offering luxury gift ideas, and authentic designer finds to really wow those on your shopping list this year! Click HERE to check out our new arrivals uploaded daily!
- Espe Curry & Ross McLaughlin, “Half of Canadians spending less on holiday shopping, survey finds”, CTV News Vancouver, November 9, 2020.
- Anne D’Innocenzio and Joseph Pisani, “Holiday shopping season starting earlier than ever as COVID-19 upends retail landscape”, The Globe and Mail, October 5, 2020.
- “Practical Splurges and Guilt-Gifting Emerge As Holiday 2020 Sales Drivers, Reports NPD”, NPD, November 9, 2020.
- James Melton, “Shopping behaviour keeps evolving as the pandemic continues”, Digital Commerce 360, October 30, 2020.