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How Holiday Spending Compares Around the World

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How Holiday Spending Compares Around the World


View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

While COVID-19 has triggered a tsunami of challenges for retailers the world over, they can take solace in knowing that retail events throughout the year can contribute to an uptick in sales.

But consumer spending for events like Back to School, Halloween, or Easter pales in comparison to what people spend between Thanksgiving and New Years—otherwise known as “the holidays”.

The graphic above explores holiday spending across the world, as well as some of the major events that contribute to it, based on MoEngage and AppFollow’s Holiday Marketing Guide.

Retail Events by Region

While Christmas is celebrated in some form across most parts of the world, U.S. consumers spend more than any other nation, with retailers raking in an estimated $1 trillion in sales in 2019.

As another major retail holiday, Black Friday originated in the U.S. but has since become a global phenomenon. In 2019, sales for the one day event reached a staggering $7.4 billion in the U.S. alone, but it was surpassed by Cyber Monday, which garnered a total of $9.4 billion in sales.

Over in India, holiday season spending in 2019 reached a total of $46 billion due to a number of events such as Amazon’s Great Indian Festival. Orders were placed during the event from over 99% of India’s postal codes, and on the busiest day, more than 600 flights delivered Amazon orders to customers.

In other parts of Asia, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day is quickly becoming a highly anticipated event attracting attention from consumers in other parts of the world. But while it recorded $38 billion in revenue in 2019, it was meager in comparison to Chinese New Year sales during the same year, which topped $149 billion—although it does not take place during the holiday months covered in this graphic.

2020 Trends Impacting Retailers

Despite many retailers banking on the success of these holiday events, they are up against some critical challenges due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Economic Uncertainty

According to the report, consumers have become more cautious about their spending, due to economic uncertainty of their finances. In fact, personal savings rates in the U.S. reached a historic 33% in May of this year.

More Value-Conscious Buyers

It’s no surprise that consumers’ concerns about the economy and their job prospects are affecting how they spend their hard-earned cash. They are spending less on items that may be considered a luxury, and investing more on things that can add value to their lives day-to-day, like media and entertainment.

Reluctance to Shop In-Store

Tightening lockdown restrictions and social distancing have raised some questions around how much of a role brick and mortar stores will play this year for consumers. Interestingly, a study shows that 36% of shoppers now prefer shopping online, up from 28% before the pandemic.

Supply Chain Issues

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on retail supply chains, resulting in a number of issues arising such as labor shortages and transport restrictions. This has put many retailers under tremendous pressure to reimagine how they can best serve their customers.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Holiday shopping in 2020 will be anything but typical. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are having to adjust to changing consumer behaviors to ensure they make it through to 2021 intact.

With tightening restrictions across the world, brick and mortar stores are becoming less of an option for millions of people, challenging retailers to focus efforts on their online experience.

Forrester predicts that total retail sales in North America will decline in 2020 overall, while online sales will increase by 18.5%—growth not seen since 2008.

Whether the reimagined supply chains of 2020 can keep up with more online demand is another question.

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