A Big Win for Local Businesses as Consumers Opt to Shop Locally

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Our web experts are sharing some 2021 pre-Christmas SEO wins for retailers

Shopify has released an exclusive industry trend report based on their 2021 Consumer Insights Survey. The Festive Shopping Outlook Report 2021 has been put together against the background of the pandemic, even as the retail sector continues to witness radical changes when it comes to consumer behaviour and buying patterns. The survey was conducted between 15 September 2021 to 20 October 2021 amongst 800 metro and non-metro shoppers. It points to the changing consumer shopping preferences heading into the festive season. The retail sector will ultimately follow these trends by elevating consumer strategies and aligning themselves to the new order.

The survey has been released to decode changing consumer trends and sentiments in the run-up to Christmas – a.k.a the largest shopping period in the world. At its core, the report is aimed at studying the impact that multiple lockdowns, shifting retail landscapes and a struggling economy have had on consumer pockets and mindsets.

Here are nine major trends that emerged from the Consumer Insights Survey.

No more advance festive shopping

E-retailers have pulled off the last-minute discount deals along with short-lead/express delivery advantages and it worked. It has been instrumental in gaining consumer confidence. According to the report, 2 in 3 shoppers had not started shopping for the festive season at the time of taking this survey. This is in sharp contrast to pre-pandemic traditional behaviours. Previously the shopping season would kick off in full swing nearly a month in advance.

The rise of e-commerce in smaller cities

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The millennial, non-metro shoppers have opted for the digital medium thanks to the increased mobile penetration and brands opting to shift to a D2C model. As far as local businesses are concerned, other instrumental factors include enhanced last-mile delivery and customer-friendly return policies. Online shopping in the last decade has largely been prevalent amongst consumers in metropolitan cities. But the pandemic has accelerated and driven this growth up the charts in tier-II cities and non-metros as well. According to the Festive Shopping Outlook Report, 53.5% of millennial shoppers from non-metros have displayed a strong preference to shop online.

Tech-enabled, family shopping experiences

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Even with increased vaccinations, consumers are wary of offline/physical shopping and in-person interactions. Convenience, value for money and personalisation offered by online players has increased e-purchasing’s appeal. However, one thing remains the same: shopping still continues to be a family affair! Half the respondents of the survey indicated that they will prefer involving their families even when shopping online during the festive season.

The push to buy local

Almost 58% of respondents stated that they would prefer to support and shop from small online businesses during this year’s festive season. This is in sharp contrast to the usual skew towards high-end brands when it comes to gifting and festive shopping. Smaller retailers have managed to capture consumer attention and loyalty by offering a range of value for money options. They also have upped their customer service game through individual attention and personalised experiences. Consumers are reportedly leaning towards extending support and encouragement to businesses that are fighting to survive. This has also been instrumental in driving e-sales at these small, local establishments.

Utility-focused on this shopping season

Consumers are now leaning towards gifts with high functionality and utility value. People have seemed to abandon the standard festive sweets or dry fruit tokens. Home confinements have led to consumers realising the need to constantly upgrade or enhance their abodes. It comes as no surprise that home décor and furnishings topped this year’s festive shopping lists with over 50% of respondents displaying preference to spend on gifts under this category.

More spotlight on electronics, less on jewellery

The traditional favourites gold and precious metal jewellery seem to have fallen out of favour with shoppers this year. The pandemic has inspired consumers to put their money where major dependencies lie, i.e. tech gadgets. This festive season, electronic gadgets are all set to command maximum consumer gifting budgets with close to 42% of respondents showcasing increased propensity towards it. High-speed internet connections and a heightened need to stay connected have increased consumer reliance on gadgets. This has translated onwards onto a large proportion of downsized festive budgets being allocated to electronic products this year.

Online shopping is here to stay

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Almost all respondents of the report show a deep inclination towards online shopping this festive season. More than 70% of customers attributed this to the convenience online shopping has to offer. While traditionally festive shopping has been an offline retail activity, pandemic-induced restrictions put in place to contain the virus forced most retail activity to move online. A practice that many consumers have got familiar with and also appreciate for the bouquet of benefits it has to offer. However, this year, even with the lifting of most restrictions, high vaccinations rates and a lower covid caseload, Shopify has witnessed a continued preference for virtual retail.

Cash is no longer king

The pandemic has necessitated contactless payments and boosted cashless transactions. Long gone are the days of an economy that was previously heavily reliant on cash. Nearly 50% of respondents surveyed stated that they preferred to process payments via UPI as opposed to any other form of transaction. Interestingly, the preference remains consistent across both, online and offline shopping experiences.

Key Takeaways

This year’s Christmas shopping season is set to witness the rise of a smarter, savvier consumer generation. One that is highly dependent on technology and mobile connectivity, we have to add. They now seek convenience and value over all else and have broken away from traditional token gifting. It can safely be said that this year, consumers are planning their Christmas shopping with an eye on the future. A future which they are already scripting; one dollar at a time.

It’s clear that the pandemic disrupts practically every aspect of our life. Right now more than ever, having an online presence is no longer an option. It is essential. And thanks to all the technology available today, a single customer can be found on multiple platforms. Meet your customers where they’re at through multi-channel selling!

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Having your business across channels like marketplaces (Google Shopping, Shopify, etc.), social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.), online communities and your website is the best way to increase sales! On this note, Top4 is a location-based marketing platform to help local businesses get more leads and customers. With state-of-the-art technology, your Top4 Business Profiles are integrated with major social media and web platforms to help manage businesses with ease.

Our unique platform is designed to deliver to your target market using geographic, categorical and demographic targeting. Top4 can help boost your online visibility and put your local business in front of the right people! Built for you by experts, we make it easy to start and run your business.

This means by being on Top4, you’ll further increase your chance to rank better, drive more traffic to your website and eventually increase sales! Try it today!


To find out how we can help you with your Website + Marketing, using our unique location marketing platform called Top4, get in touch today at www.top4marketing.com

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