Opening Up: How Will COVID-19 Impact Your 2020 Holiday Shopping Plans?

For this month’s Opening Up blog we asked Acquians how they felt COVID-19 would impact their holiday shopping behavior and spending habits in 2020.

The holidays are going to look a little different this year. Retailers have had to adapt their discounting tactics and in-store capacities, while consumers are changing up their traditional holiday shopping plans. McKinsey reports that over 60% of global consumers have changed their buying habits in 2020, and most intend to stick with this new way of doing things going forward. With people’s needs evolving, brands need to reexamine their strategies if they want to maintain customer loyalty. 

For this month’s Opening Up blog we asked Acquians how they felt COVID-19 would impact their holiday shopping. Responses featured common trends such as starting earlier, spending less, buying local and doing a lot more online research. Check out more of the ways people are changing up their holiday purchasing and gift giving plans below. 


“I started my shopping much earlier this year to prepare for longer shipping times and potential decreases in availability. I'm also planning on sending more gift cards or shipping gifts directly to the recipients, since I won't be able to get together with a lot of family and friends.”

-Heather Hansen, Gainsight Administrator

“Something I’m doing differently this year is focusing more on shopping from local and Black-owned businesses as they've been heavier-hit than big retailers. I’m also making more DIY gifts as I feel like online gifts can be less personal, and I have extra time this year to make things at home.”  

-Alison Zak, Customer Advocacy Specialist

“I will be doing a majority of my shopping on Amazon, and will most likely stay away from the malls. I may select in-store pickup options from online retailers if available. Although I normally don't like to shop online, I would rather shop from home than spend hours shopping in a mask.”

-Ashlyn Underwood, Account Management Coordinator 

“I'm a Black Friday shopper. I have been going out with my girlfriend for the last 20 years getting up in the wee hours and shopping all day. I'm not much of an online shopper, so I’m not sure how this year will go.”

-Rosemary Low, Office Manager

“I’m spending a lot more time online researching. Since I don’t go into stores anymore, I haven’t had those spontaneous purchases. Also, I buy a lot of tech, and the supply chains have been affected, so there’s a lot more searching involved to find good alternatives.”

-Rohan Ranjan, Solutions Engineer

“I already do the vast majority of my shopping online to avoid the crowds and the insanity. So it won't change at all for me. Avoid the craziness!”

-Greg Lowenthal, Master Solutions Engineer

“I think I'm going to end up spending more than normal and filling the void left by not being able to see friends and family with ‘stuff.’ I'll be shopping almost exclusively online too. My habits have been leaning that way for a while, but this will be the most I'll have avoided high street shopping without question.”

-Mark Silvester, Marketing Operations Senior Manager

“I think it's been a great change for the positive because so many retailers are creating these month-long sales. This way we have more than just one 'Black Friday' that creates a mass exodus. I also think it'll help the morale and keep people at home with their families on Thanksgiving, since so many retailers normally open that night.”

-Mackenzie Pollock, Product Owner

“I am going to try to get my shopping done earlier this year because of shipping delays. I also want to buy local rather than shop at bigger stores. Also, I likely will be buying fewer gifts as the economy still makes me uncertain.” 

-Jo Beth Harstrick, Human Resources Business Partner 

“I've been asking friends and family to send me their wish lists far in advance! I think everyone, including myself, is more mindful of complications with shipping from distribution centers, higher volumes of online shopping and slow turnaround as stores follow COVID protocols. I definitely try to be more patient and understanding of that reality.”

-Miwako Chimura, Human Resources Specialists  

“Everything we've shopped for to this point has been online or curbside pickup. But one fun thing is that Amazon and Target have been sending out toy catalogs and the kids have been browsing them instead of walking around the store. Reminds me of the old JCPenney catalogs.”

-Zack Wenthe, Senior Solutions Engineer

“I don't think I'll be going out and shopping in person at all this holiday season. I'd like to do my best to support small businesses and buy from them when possible, but I feel like I'll be spending more money than I typically do to ship the gifts out to individuals. I’m unsure if I'll have gifts mailed to me first and then mail them out wrapped, or if I’ll mail them straight from the business.”

-Brianna Button, Senior UX Designer


While businesses face unexpected challenges and changes in consumer behavior this year, the shift also presents new opportunities to attract new audiences and create customer-centric journeys. To learn more about how brands can stay agile and build customer loyalty, get Acquia’s third annual Global Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report: Design Resilient Digital Customer Experiences for Disruptive Times.  

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