Jessica Goodfellow
Jul 23, 2020

COVID-19 will not cancel Christmas (shopping)

Despite falling household incomes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, research finds the highest proportion of consumers are still expecting to spend the same amount during this year's holiday shopping season.

Credit: Unsplash
Credit: Unsplash

Consumer appetite for shopping during major holidays such as Christmas or Lunar New Year has not been dampened by reduced household incomes, according to research from Rakuten Advertising.

The research surveyed over 8,500 consumers across the globe, including more than 2,000 consumers in Asia-Pacific.

Despite over 40% of shoppers around the world citing a decrease in household income due to COVID-19, 87% said they still intended to shop during major holidays. It found the majority (over 60%) of 2020 holiday shopping will occur in November and December. For brands and retailers, it means they will have an opportunity to drive sales in the second half of the year after a challenging start to 2020.

However, more than half (51%) of respondents said they have reduced overall spending due to the impact of COVID-19, so basket sizes are likely to be smaller. The highest proportion (38%) of respondents said they expect their spending this holiday season to stay the same versus last year, followed by 34% who said they will increase spend and 28% who said they will decrease.

More than half of consumers in Singapore (53%), China (53%), Hong Kong (54%) and South Korea (52%) said they are motivated by sales/offers when making a holiday purchase.

China has by far the biggest proportion of online shoppers globally, with 90% saying they primarily shop online. This is followed by Brazil (86%), South Korea (85%) and the US (80%). Singapore and Hong Kong follow, at 74% and 67%, respectively.

China also has a much higher proportion of high-spend shoppers versus the rest of the world, with 35% of Chinese shoppers reporting that they intend to spend more than 40% of their monthly household income this shopping season compared to only 7% of global consumers. 

When asked which social-media platforms consumers' utilise for holiday shopping, Facebook was by far the most dominant around the world, named by 45% of respondents. This is followed by YouTube (38%), Instagram (36%) and WhatsApp (34%).

In China, Taobao is the preferred shopping platform, cited by 77% of respondents, followed by messaging app WeChat (65%), and in South Korea 73% of respondents cited Kakao Talk as the most popular platform to inform holiday shopping habits.

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