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Holiday shopping 2021: 4 trends shaping this shopping season

The continuing rise of online shopping, supply chain snags, and shifts in the way retailers do business mean this holiday season is shaping up to be unlike any other.

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For the retail industry, this holiday season will be different

Last holiday season came in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with talk of widespread vaccine availability just beginning to emerge. This holiday shopping season may hold the promise of a return to “normal.” But given what we’ve been through, what we’ve learned, and what new and unexpected challenges have emerged since 2020 (hint: mass retail employee departures and supply chain disruptions), this year’s retail holiday shopping season may still land far from what we’ve experienced in the past. Read on to find out about four trends shaping this holiday shopping season and how they could affect both shoppers and retail businesses. Or schedule a demo to learn how Oracle retail solutions can help you navigate the ever-changing retail landscape.

1. Black Friday is losing its luster

The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s. But today’s shopping season kickoff is very different, filled with challenges such as a worldwide pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and a shortage of retail employees to manage in-person customers. This blog examines some of the results of the Oracle Retail consumer research study, including the growth of online shopping and how it and other trends might be indicators that the traditional Black Friday has run its course. To find out more, read the blog.

2. Consumers fear the supply chain grinch

Supply chain challenges are a global reality. Regardless, consumers will still measure retailers on their ability to deliver on their wish lists this holiday season. The Oracle Retail consumer research study found that shoppers are worried that supply chain and delivery delays will wreak havoc on the holidays. To mitigate these fears, retailers must have clear visibility into their inventory, a realistic timeline for fulfillment, and a plan to communicate clearly throughout the order and delivery processes. To find out more, read Consumers already holiday shopping to avoid the supply chain grinch or Consumers fear supply chain snags will put damper on the holidays.

3. Shoppers and retailers are getting a jump start

Ongoing carrier issues and expectations of late deliveries or out of stocks have driven a record number of United States consumers to jump the gun on holiday shopping, with 52% of those responding to the Oracle Retail consumer research study saying they’ve already begun or will do so earlier than usual. Major retailers, including Best Buy and Target, are starting early too, as experts advise shoppers to hit their gift lists early or risk disappointment. To find out more, read More than half of US consumers planning holiday shopping early.

4. Technology is changing the game

To manage this year’s holiday shopping challenges and the evolving retail landscape overall, more retailers are turning to technology. Technology is helping retailers gain the agility and insights they need to react quickly and move swiftly in response to change, keep up with the pace of customer demand, choreograph seamless in-store and online experiences, precisely predict and fulfill demand, and much more. Find out more about how retailers are successfully adapting to meet consumer demands in the Oracle Retail consumer research study.