SMALL BUSINESS CURRENTS: Holiday Shopping Predictions for 2024

By at 27 June, 2024, 11:52 am

by Rieva Lesonsky – 

What’s in store (literally and figuratively) for this year’s holiday shopping season? Salesforce just released its 2024 holiday shopping predictions. Consumers are buying less (but paying more due to inflation and, in my opinion, a bit of corporate greed) and seeking value.

In a recent post, Salesforce named its five top holiday shopping predictions for 2024:

● Chinese shopping apps will take market share

● Middle-mile shipping puts strain on margins

● Shoppers embrace AI to search for the perfect gift

● Black Friday becomes Cyber Friday

● Retailers tap loyal shoppers to avoid skyrocketing digital marketing costs 

The post shares details about the predictions:

Chinese shopping apps will take market share

To combat rising prices and find low-priced items, increasing numbers of consumers are shopping in Chinese marketplaces. Salesforce says, “In the last six months, two-thirds of consumers from Western markets made at least one purchase on Aliexpress, Cider, Shein, Temu, or TikTok.” And 63% of Western consumers plan to purchase from Chinese shopping applications during the holiday season. The numbers are higher for consumers with kids.

Salesforce advises retailers to “use data and AI to develop an attractive promotion and discount strategy” in November and to let their customers know when the discounts will be coming so they will hopefully not shop elsewhere.

Middle-mile shipping puts strain on margins

Shipping troubles continue, driving up container costs, but Salesforce warns retailers not to “push the shipping expenses back on shoppers.” Consumers say free shipping offers are among the top three reasons they buy from a specific brand or retailer. And more than half of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy products online than in store if free delivery is offered.

Salesforce advises retailers “to make reduced or free shipping standard practice this year.” And encourage local shoppers to buy online and pick up in-store.

Shoppers embrace AI to search for the perfect gift 

Last November and December, AI influenced 17% of online purchases, totaling $199 billion of online sales worldwide. That number will rise this year as 53% of shoppers surveyed say they’re interested in using generative AI when shopping for “the perfect present.”

Black Friday becomes Cyber Friday

Many consumers wait until Cyber Week to make their holiday purchases, hoping to get the best deals. This year, 67% of shoppers plan to wait until Cyber Week to shop. Most shoppers (72%) would rather shop online than in-store (31%). Why? Convenience, free delivery, and the ability to search for the best prices.

Salesforce advises retailers to focus their efforts on a Black Friday blitz.

Retailers tap loyal shoppers to avoid skyrocketing digital marketing costs 

Salesforce says consumers “are doubling down on loyalty.” Earning and redeeming loyalty points is an incentive for 46% of shoppers, second only to price. And 63% of consumers buy more from stores where they can earn and redeem loyalty points.

Salesforce advises retailers to “incentivize loyalty members by offering exclusive perks like free expedited shipping, free gift wrapping, early access to sales, and exclusive merchandise.”

The post has a lot more detail, and I encourage you to read it. Also, you can get Salesforce’s top tips in its free 2024 Retail Holiday Planning Guide.

Shopper stock photo by Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock

Want more trends? Find more at Currents.

Rieva Lesonsky is president and CEO of two companies that focus on small business and entrepreneurship – GrowBiz Media and She’s a nationally-known speaker, best-selling author, award-winning journalist, and authority on entrepreneurship who has covered the industry for more than 40 years. Before starting GrowBiz Media, she was the long-time editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine. Lesonsky has written several books about small business, including the best-selling Start Your Own Business, and Small Business Hacks: 100 Shortcuts to Success.

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