CAPE TOWN- Global online sales are predicted to surge this festive by 30% year-over-year in a season shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic which could result in shipping delays and a post holiday surge in returns.
According to new research from global Customer Relationship Management (CRM) company, Salesforce, digital sales are expected to reach a new record high of $940 billion globally.
These all-time high in digital sales could lead to strained shipping capacity as retailers grapple with the impact of the pandemic. Up to 700 million packages face potential shipping delays as orders exceed shipping capacity by five percent.
Vice-President for Industry Insights for Retail and Consumer Goods at Salesforce, Rob Garf, says that businesses who wish to succeed during the holidays will use everything at their disposal to make shopping easy and safe. Customers will prefer convenient digital ordering, creative and efficient fulfillment, and responsive customer service.
“Digital commerce won’t fully compensate for the projected brick-and-mortar slowdown, but it will be critical to help retailers close the gap this holiday season,” said Garf.
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Due to changes in consumer behavior driven largely by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is likely there will be a different set of top products this year, according to Salesforce. Last year’s leading categories included footwear, general and luxury apparel, beauty and electronics and gaming. While beauty and electronics and gaming will once again be top holiday spending categories in 2020, home furnishings and decor, home fitness and toys are among the new leading categories this year.
Salesforce’s forecast is based on an analysis of aggregated data from the activity of over a billion global shoppers across more than 40 countries .
Due to the predicted online influx, approximately $40 billion of Covid-19 delivery surcharges are expected between November and January globally.
Garf recommends that shoppers should buy early and take note of the shipping cut-off dates as it will help shoppers avoid last-minute purchases.
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