Historically, customers begin making their holiday plans in September — this year, however, as the world grappled with an unprecedented pandemic, something rather interesting has happened: people started looking forward to the holidays as early as April.

The reason for the shift? According to a report done by Pinterest, customers are looking forward to the comfort of the holiday season as they struggle to deal with COVID-19 and social distancing recommendations. Based on their research, 50% of their users say they say they want brands to help them take the holidays to the“next level” this year. This data point is further confirmed by the massive increase in search for a variety of terms including “Christmas gift ideas,” “Christmas baking,” Christmas decor ideas,” and “Christmas movies.”

Despite the fact customers are eager for the holly jolly spirit of the holiday season, retail sales are expected to be subdued this year. According to Deloitte’s annual estimate for 2020, retail holiday sales are likely to be muted, with a growth of 1% to 1.5% from last year.

In previous seasons, customers relied on a combination of malls, window shopping, and online stores in order to discover gift ideas for friends and families. Due to COVID-19, however, eCommerce is likely to experience a boom even larger than in recent years. According to survey data from Glassbox, 70% of respondents planned to do the majority of their holiday shopping online this year.

With all this in mind, brands such as Target are kicking off the season as early as October 13 with nearly 1 million more deals than last year. The reason for the change-up? As explained by Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, this move lets “guests know they don’t need to wait or face the crowds to get the best deals.”

Ready to learn more about this holiday season? Then let’s dive right in.


Reformation | Free People | ASOS

October has just begun, but searches for Christmas dresses are already on the rise, +2% compared to last year with nearly 7K average weekly searches. Comfy silhouettes are currently a customer favorite, with easy to wear midi dresses and sweater dresses seeing 326K and 41K average weekly searches, respectively. On the other hand, less comfortable silhouettes, such as bodycon and cold shoulder dresses, are quickly declining, with 46% of products in these categories being discounted at least 30%.



Search interest for sweatshirts has been on the rise with 172K average weekly searches — that’s +23.8% compared to last year. Thus, it is no surprise that this holiday season, men are flocking towards Christmas sweatshirts, a search term that is +339% compared to last year.


Amazon Beauty | Pretty Little Thing | The Body Shop

Beauty advent calendars are a holiday favorite. Due to COVID-19, however, consumers are stuck inside, which has caused searches for color cosmetics, including contouring, foundation, and lipstick to rapidly decline. Still, customers have shown a great interest in skincare and haircare, hence the rise in search for terms such as maskne, double cleansing, and scalp serum. While there are beauty advent calendars on the market offering both color cosmetics and skincare items, those with a more natural approach to beauty are likely to attract a larger customer base during this holiday season.


Fisher Price | Doodlematic | VTECH

Toys and games have seen strong momentum with kids confined to their homes amid lockdown measures. More than $368.8 billion was spent online for toys during the first six months of the year, $77 billion higher than expected, according to Adobe Analytics. Electronics, necessary for at-home learning and interactive games that keep kids entertained and engaged without a screen, are garnering interest this holiday season.

J.Crew | Hanna Anderson | Pottery Barn Kids

For low-key celebrations, ribbed and chunky knits add texture to sweaters, dresses, and leggings. Traditional prints and materials, like tartan, buffalo check, and faux fur, offer much-needed familiarity and comfort in the wake of the pandemic. Assortment levels of girls holiday dresses are on the rise, +4.4% in the last 30 days. Searches for girls holiday dresses will peak and accelerate in November.


Amazon | Sugar and Charm | Williams Sonoma

The holiday season is likely to look a bit different this year as parties with friends and families are put on hold due to social distancing concerns. Because of this, it makes sense that search interest for large gatherings, such as Christmas pajama party and ugly sweater party are both rapidly declining compared to previous years. Instead, families opting for festive game nights at home.

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