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LONGITUDES

Helping Small Business Owners This Holiday Season

woman online shopping

As we move into the holiday season, companies large and small are holding their breath to see what consumer purchasing behavior looks like this year.

Will consumers match or outpace holiday spending from 2019? Will businesses see foot traffic again, or will sales largely move online?

As we know, shopping patterns have already evolved, and the unpredictable nature of 2020 will certainly make it challenging to anticipate inventory needs.

Forecasting holiday spending

As one would guess, we’re expecting a massive holiday season for e-commerce. According to a 2020 holiday forecast from eMarketer, U.S. e-commerce sales will account for almost 19 percent of total retail sales during this holiday season, with consumers projected to spend more than $190 billion on online purchases.  

To better understand our own customers and their plans for holiday shopping, we turned to our private online community called the Small Biz Buzz. Working with the advertising agency Doner, we surveyed more than 250 micro business owners to ask them about the upcoming holiday season.

Here’s what they told us:

Real feedback from small business owners

Our findings reinforced many of the business changes bubbling to the surface this past year.

Business owners are feeling a wide range of emotions about this holiday season — everything from joy and excitement to worry and uncertainty. Like many of us, their typical holiday expectations have shifted — fewer holiday parties and family gatherings, as well as scrapped travel plans.

Some standout statistics among our findings:

  • More than two-thirds of small business owners say they will conduct all of their holiday shopping online this year.
  • Twenty-nine percent will purchase gift cards for gifts.
  • Twenty-seven percent will ship most of their gifts.
  • More than six in 10 small business owners do not plan on traveling this holiday season.
  • Two-thirds of small business owners plan to ship some gifts from The UPS Store this year.

Helping entrepreneurs connect with customers

At The UPS Store, we’re all about helping small business owners, especially as they navigate this holiday season.

Promotional materials of all different varieties, including sidewalk A-frame, banners and full-color window posters, help communicate to in-store and potential customers alike. Flyers and postcard mailers can be a great option to connect with customers who are visiting neighboring businesses or even staying home.

Questioning how to manage stress and prepare staff for the holiday shopping season? The UPS Store Small Business Blog has numerous articles to help the small business community with a variety of challenges.

Of course, The UPS Store network of more than 5,000 retail locations across the U.S. and Canada is a great resource for businesses looking to ship online orders — and anyone shipping gifts to clients, family and friends.

This year has taught us all how to adapt and shift business strategies quickly. There are so many factors that could determine consumers’ holiday plans and purchases, but most experts predict it will only accelerate the long-simmering shift toward e-commerce.

In taking the pulse of our small-business-owner community, we have some real insights into what entrepreneurs are planning to purchase and how such decisions might affect their businesses overall.

The one thing that won’t change this year? The UPS Store will be there to help connect loved ones near and far.

Are you a small business owner interested in joining The UPS Store Small Biz Buzz community? Click here to take the eligibility survey.

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Longitudes explores and navigates the trends reshaping the global economy and the way we’ll live in the world of tomorrow: logistics, technology, e-commerce, trade and sustainability. Which path will you take?

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