During the week leading into Thanksgiving/Black Friday, we executed a survey* of over 1,000 consumers to understand their shopping habits, potential holiday plans during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 2021 expectations.
The consensus? Consumers are willing to switch things up this year in order to ‘see’ each other during a period when we can’t be together in person. While just over 2 out of 5 (39.6%) individuals are planning to celebrate the holidays virtually with their friends and family this year (17.3% virtual-only; 22.3% combination of in-person and virtual), more than 4 out of 5 (86.2%) individuals said they would consider celebrating at least one activity virtually this holiday season. A few more key findings:
- Of those doing virtual-only celebrations, nearly two-thirds (64.6%) will be having a virtual family meal
- When considering all of the respondents, nearly half (45.1%) would consider virtual family meals over other non-family virtual experiences, such as Santa visits (13.6%) or volunteering (13.1%).
- Overall, 56.9% identified friends and family as their top invite recipient to a virtual holiday party (even when they could invite anyone—past, present, fictional or otherwise).
- Oprah took the cake as the most invited TV personality, while Jennifer Aniston was the most invited actor. Rounding out the celebrity hit list was Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton who tied for most invited musician.
- Generational differences:
- More than half of those between 18 and 35 years old are willing to consider virtual family dinners (56.8% for ages 18-25 and 55.8% for ages 26-35). For those 46 and older, that number decreases to 41.3%.
- On the flip side, for those 18-25 years old, only 21.6% are considering a virtual religious ceremony. For those 65 years and older, over one-third (35.3%) are interested in virtual religious ceremonies.
As we look ahead to 2021, nearly 9 out of 10 (87.3%) of respondents said they would consider doing something virtually in the coming year. Virtual isn’t just for work or family meetups—consumers want experiences! Especially those ages 18 to 45—with 70.3% of 18-25 year-olds, 62% of 26-35 year-olds and 61% of 36-45 year-olds expressing interest in attending virtual entertainment events in 2021, such as comedy shows or musical concerts.
Age aside, more than 50% of consumers are considering attending virtual entertainment events in 2021 (50.3%).
- Over one third (37.3%) are looking forward to classes—cooking, wine or otherwise—with 56.8% of the youngest segment (18-25 years old) on board and exactly half (50%) of 36-45 year-olds interested.
- Virtual trivia is also a big draw with younger generations, with (51.9%) of those in the 26 to 35 age bracket interested in partaking over the next year and 48.8% of 36 to 45 year olds.
- Overall, more than one third (35.4%) of consumers say they would participate in trivia games virtually with friends and family.
Evolving Shopping Habits
Beyond those experiences, consumers have become more comfortable buying online…but not when it comes to everything (just yet).
- More than half (52.6%) are buying households good online & 50.3% are buying clothing online
- One quarter (25.5%) are buying everything online (West Coast = 28.7% vs. North East = 21.8%)
- While only 20.6% of consumers report buying groceries online, those in the “young family” age range (26-45) are the biggest practitioners at 28.6%.
When asked what small businesses are doing differently to get their attention during the pandemic, over half (52.4%) of respondents said the businesses they shop at have started offering home delivery, while 65.9% said small businesses were offering more social media promos and/or newsletters to keep them informed of their offerings.
Interested in having someone walk you around the store from the comfort of your own home? You’re not alone. While the majority of consumers have yet to test out a virtual shopping consultation, nearly one third (30.9%) say they would consider it. Retailers…are you listening?
2020 has had its ups and downs, but one thing is certain—virtual experiences have entered the mainstream and impacted nearly every facet of our lives. We are looking forward to 2021 and seeing all of the incredible ways that our customers, large and small, will continue to leverage video technology to meet, collaborate and innovate.
*The survey was conducted the week of November 20, 2020 by BlueJeans by Verizon and BizRate Insights with a total of 1,013 recipients ranging in age from 18-65+ (350/663 Male to Female ratio).