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As we have faced a challenging year through COVID-19, we can finally return to our usual lifestyle, while integrating the new realities brought by the pandemic. New payment methods brought by digitalization, the transition to online mode – all reasonably impacted the way people buy and pay. 

Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 7% and 9% in 2021, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast.

More than a quarter of UK consumers have already started their Christmas shopping and 45% plan to avoid major online retailers this year. (Independent)

Online shopping taking over the traditional brick-and-mortar stores 

COVID - 19 has impacted consumers to rethink their shopping and holiday habits paying extra attention to safety. 

According to Quantum Statistics, more than two in three Brits (63%) did at least 75% of their shopping online in 2020 while half (55%%) plan to do the same in 2021.

Deloitte also forecasts that e-commerce sales will grow by 11-15%, year-over-year, during the 2021-2022 holiday season. This will likely result in e-commerce holiday sales reaching between $210 billion and $218 billion this season.

This trend is logical - online shopping releases of overcrowded shops with hourly waiting in the line-ups where the risk of transmission is extremely high. 

Many shoppers aren’t morally ready to venture back to the retail stores and prefer to follow the digital shopping experience they had during 2020. Thus safety, immediacy, and shopping diversity are offered to consumers as the new incentives to buy online. 

COVID-19 immensely promoted on the arena the use of disruptive payment methods, and a more flexible online environment for online shopping facilitates the move toward online shopping. Virtual showrooms and video consultations serve to optimize the e-commerce shopping experience.  

Online shopping eliminates overcrowded shopping and long queues. Today the majority of consumers are not prepared to venture back to retail stores, instead, their preference has evolved into the digital shopping experience during 2020. Thus, safety, immediacy and shopping diversity are offered to consumers as the new incentives to buy online. 

COVID-19 has encouraged shoppers to invest their time in online shopping to avoid any sort of transmission. Different payment methods are available online for consumers to select their preferences. Virtual showrooms, video consultations also serve to optimize the e-commerce shopping experience.  

However, taking into account that the holiday season is the first holiday shopping season after pandemic lockdowns, customers are more comfortable with shopping outside their homes.

 For someone the holiday shopping rush is a way to indulge again in the holiday atmosphere, the fascinating showcases are an inseparable part of the pre-holiday mood.  This holiday season is going to be filled with emotional sentiments when after the year of separation from traditional lifestyle people are going to return to the custom habits including purchases in brick-and-mortar shops.  

31% said they would select gifts through window shopping on the high street, 23% plan to visit small independent retailers and 21% want to attend local Christmas markets, as The Independent states. 

One of the facts in favor of in-store shopping is the evolvement of BOPIS. 

BOPIS  (buy-online-pickup-in-store), is a symbiosis of online shopping and in-person pick-up that accommodates the in-store shopping to the post-pandemic realities. BIOPIS empowers retailers to gain in-store foot traffic and at the time minimize or eliminate customers’ contact. 

BIOPIS is a powerful tool to optimize the sales strategy for both online and offline, but its role in promoting the customers toward a physical store improves their resilience. 

To prevent dangerous overcrowding most retailers have begun shopping season earlier this year. 

Holidays are no longer the “Black Friday” and remarkable days following it.