Click, then drive: Last-minute U.S. holiday shoppers do curbside pickup

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 / PRNewswire / – Many U.S. Christmas shoppers who didn’t want to do business during the recent surge in the COVID-19 pandemic walked from their computers, phones, or other devices to their cars for the last Saturday before Christmas Make-minute gift purchases and then drive to the store to pick them up.

Super Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the year for vacation shopping, and online retailing has been particularly busy this year, with many Americans worried that deliveries could be delayed this week.

US retailers are expected to generate record sales. Over 150 million American shoppers are said to buy Christmas gifts online or in stores on Saturday. This corresponds to an increase of more than 2 million over the previous year, the National Retail Federation announced on Thursday.

As states enforce tighter mandates and consumers continue to avoid strolling the local mall, most last-minute shoppers will go online, according to the trade group.

Many retailers achieved record digital sales during the pandemic, overwhelming traditional shipping companies like FedEx, UPS and USPS. Vaccine shipments are a priority now, and delivery drivers have to navigate snowy roads in the northeast this week.

As an alternative, LVMH’s Macy’s Inc and Sephora are among those promoting fast delivery in partnership with gig economy delivery companies like DoorDash and Instacart.

Retail experts said many consumers are choosing to sit in the driver’s seat themselves because of the hit shipping crisis.

“Because so many people shop online and can’t rely on delivery … people get nervous and buy more online in the store or on the roadside,” said Amy Shulman, global director of services at retail data firm Sensormatic Solutions.

This is good news for department stores like Nordstrom and JC Penney, which are offering perks like free gift wrapping and additional discounts for those who “click and pick up” online orders. It also saves companies money.

“If you get it right, click-and-collect services are significantly cheaper to run than mailing them to someone’s home,” said Andy Halliwell, UK-based international retail strategist for Publicis Sapient.

Craig Johnson, president of retail consultancy Customer Growth Partners, expects people to spend $ 36.1 billion on Super Saturday this year, up from $ 34.4 billion last year. These estimates include in-store and online purchases, but exclude sales at gas stations, restaurants, and car dealerships. (Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

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