Peak 22

What striking retail trends will emerge amidst this year’s economic crisis?

Since the COVID pandemic, peak seasons have rewritten the retailer rulebook again and again. Retailers have had to adapt to a multitude of challenges and trends, from a boom in online sales to the current ‘cost of living’ crisis that dominates this year’s news headlines.

To prepare for a peak season like none before it, Metapack partnered with Retail Economics on a Holiday Shopping Trends Report gathering data from over 8,000 global shoppers and 800 retailers to uncover how widespread economic strife will impact sales during the year’s busiest shopping period.

We conducted this extensive research across Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK, as well as the US, Canada and Australia to provide you with a detailed overview of the global state-of-play in the face of this exceptional ‘cost of living’ crisis.

In our analysis, we’re answering some of the most burning questions for you:

  • Will customers continue spending or cut back expenses?
  • What types of products will be the most sought after?
  • What’s the expected balance between online and in-store purchases?

Keep reading to learn more about which retail trends could steer this year’s peak season and make sure to download the full report for an in-depth analysis that will help you plan for the months beyond.

The cost of living crisis is affecting retail, fact

We don’t have to wait for peak season to pass to see the impacts of rising costs and soaring inflation.

Retailers throughout the country are already feeling the pressure of customers cutting back on non-essential purchases. Our report found the UK is expected to experience a 22% decrease in overall spending compared to a typical peak season.

We can see this in all sectors of the economy. More than a third indicate they are already in financial stress and this is before we see the effects of rising energy bills. Strained finances and soaring prices have over 70% of consumers saying they plan to cut back on some, if not all, non-food purchases.

The retail trend borne in the pandemic that’s still relevant in 2022

So how do you counter such intense buyer apprehension?

First, let’s reflect. COVID significantly changed how people shopped. In 2020, consumers were forced online because of lockdowns. In 2021, consumers could do more in-store shopping, causing a dip in ecommerce purchases.

Those two years were exceptions and it’s important to remember that what worked then, may not work now. Learning from past years is certainly key, but this year is a fresh canvas that requires fresh creativity.

Our report demonstrates this in practice by finding that:

  • More than 80% of consumers say they plan to do some of their peak season shopping online
  • Of those, just over 25% say they’ll do all their shopping online
  • Around 17% say they will only shop in-store during peak season

These numbers highlight the importance of having an omni-channel selling strategy. Full visibility across shipping operations and automation of the order fulfilment and delivery process can ensure peak sales go out the door without a hitch – reducing the stress across your business.

Implementing cutting-edge technology, such as Metapack’s Shipping API, can help your business prepare for unanticipated shipping demands, ensuring customers receive their purchases on time and in full.

An exceptional buying experience shines through

Ultimately, it’s clear that an exceptional customer experience is as pertinent as ever.

With spending down across the board, every conversion will be critical to keeping peak season out of the red and as the data demonstrates, providing an exceptional omni-channel shopping experience is the key to ensuring they shop with you instead of the competition.

Interestingly, when asked what was important:

  • Nearly 40% of UK consumers consider the cost of delivery to be the most important factor when buying online
  • Sustainability isn’t as important as it once was. Less than 15% said this was the most important factor in their purchasing decisions.

These figures tell us that consumers are keen to shop with retailers that provide low-cost delivery options, perhaps more than ever before.

This poses an important strategic decision, especially when you consider that 35% of businesses we surveyed stated they are responding to rising costs by raising the cost of delivery. 26% also said they are extending delivery timeframes.

This misalignment between customer expectations and retailer cost strategy needs to be carefully managed. Purposeful customer communication, nuance and a steady, supportive brand presence are all imperative to ensuring that customers remain satisfying, loyal and buying.

Tread carefully and don’t act without reviewing the extensive data in our report first.

Finish your preparations and act on the data

In these closing weeks ahead of peak season, now is the time to ensure everything is ready for whatever demand may come during Black Friday and Christmas.

Our Holiday Shopping Trends Report has all the relevant information to help you finalise your peak season decision making. It’s packed full of data from shoppers across the globe, giving you the necessary knowledge to successfully navigate for this challenging period in your local territory and cross-border.

Download Metapack’s Holiday Shopping Trends Report today.