The cycle happens every year. You make a list, check it twice, check your bank account to make sure you can actually afford presents and then head out into the unknown realm of Christmas shopping. Although, this year it might feel a little different.
Non-essential shops are closed until the end of lockdown, and it's not even guaranteed that they'll open again. So, this means your traditional shopping centre blitz could be in jeaprody. But, does this mean Christmas shopping won't be the same this year? I don't think so.
Amazon’s stock has increased by more than 60% this year and now trading at around $3,000 per shareSource: Forbes
The numbers speak for themselves. With every £3 out of 10 now spent online, it's now more common than ever for the average person to stock up on stocking fillers and even bigger presents like game consoles and phones through the click of the button.
In this case, I think this year's Christmas will be different in some ways, but not all. Yes, we've lost the hustle and bustle of the Christmas markets and the bright lights of every high street, but isn't Christmas meant to mean more than that?
Seemingly what many people associate with Christmas is the capitalising on presents, who's gift is the biggest and most importantly, how much money they have.
Yes, it now appears that Christmas is not focused on family, food and togetherness but centered around the whole monopoly of capitalism.
What we will lose this Christmas is the experience of buying gifts, but the surge of online shopping and the new meaning of Christmas will stay exactly the same; many websites such as Amazon already have dedicated festive sections.
Shops may be closed and high streets bare, but one thing is for sure, the new meaning of Christmas will still be here for 2020.
Given the cultural shifts that have taken place during the pandemic, I don't think holiday shopping will ever be quite the same. Many of our favorite businesses have closed, temporarily or permanently, due to restrictions that reduced business. Staying inside has accustomed people to online purchasing--JustEat, Zoom, and other online tools are the new way to obtain products and services such as food and live music that we rarely would have purchased online before. We've also realized that purchasing from the comfort of your own home is just easier sometimes.
Other factors have influenced our desire to shop online. Trends in sustainable fashion have led some to seek out environmentally-friendly brands and avoid unsustainable fast fashion and mass-produced clothes. Most sustainable brands have small online sites rather than in-person locations, and many make limited-run designs due to their use of sustainable techniques and small-scale production.
Additionally, the desire to take up hobbies in lockdown and support our friends and family who are doing so has shaped buying habits.
Sites like Etsy and Instagram have thrived as many new users have utilized them to buy and sell crafts as diverse as home decor, jewelry, clothing, stationery, and even food. This holiday season, many will probably seek out handmade and one-of-a-kind items given their increased awareness of their availability--especially as they might know the artist!
Lastly, the increased awareness of inequality in society and the workplace has led people to more ethical marketplaces than sites like Amazon that are known for their horrendous treatment of workers.
Black Lives Matter and similar movements have encouraged consumers to support Black-owned businesses, particularly for books about anti-racism and items that relate to social justice, which exist both online and in the community.
These movements have also inspired a number of independent sellers to donate profits to organizations that promote equality. I imagine that many will choose to support a good cause with their purchasing, especially given the desire to give back to the community during the holiday season.
Overall, given the social and economic shifts brought about by COVID-19, I believe that holiday shopping going forward will be characterized by more online sales and more conscious consumption, in both reality and cyberspace.