As Prime Day was initially a one-day sales … More ushered in the holiday season, Amazon sellers are once again rushing to stock up, promote their products, and get those orders in. But this year’s Amazon shopping trends may interfere with those plans. Here’s what to expect this Q4. Read up on the 13 emerging Amazon shopping trends to get ready for the busy months ahead.
This Q4, 3 in 4 American adults plan to do most of their holiday shopping online, Feedvisor claims. And where better to shop online than Amazon? After all, as the place where 63% of online shoppers start a product search, it’s the world’s leading search engine.
But if you’re an Amazon seller, you might have some reservations. Is this a good time to go all-in with ads and discounts, or should you wait? To help make up your mind, we’re showing you what to expect this Q4.
13 Amazon Shopping Trends in Q4 2020
Extended Holiday SeasonThis year, people started shopping for the holidays on Prime Day was initially a one-day sales … More, Oct. 13. Since they’re stretching their paychecks over 10 weeks, they’re more likely to opt for several small purchases rather than big-ticket items. So, you might want to save more expensive items for BFCM, and list cheaper items the rest of Q4.
Planning Starts EarlierThe UK is one of the earliest markets when it comes to planning for Christmas, SearchStar claims. Nearly half of online shoppers here started planning in July for what they’ll be buying in November. If that’s true, then US buyers must also have their wish lists and shopping lists ready by now. So, if you have a couple of hours to spare, why not have a look at the public wish lists your existing buyers have made? You’ll find the UK link here. To find the US link, look up the phrase “amazon.com Find a List or Registry” on Google. There’s been a massive surge in online retail. It’s not due to millennials being able to afford more, but rather to middle-aged people shifting from in-store to web shopping. ThinkwithGoogle claims 4 out of 5 people over 45 do their research online now, as opposed to about 2 in 3 last year. It’s up to sellers to make products more inclusive and available to ‘digital immigrants’. But it’s easier said than done. Google “products for 50-year-olds” and all you get is anti-aging cream. So, if you have middle-aged-friendly items, be they household goods or pet toys, make your listings relatable to them.
Impulse BuyersSo, most people plan their holiday shopping. But as our 2020 Q4 Prep showed, most people also spend money online on things they didn’t plan on buying. People from Florida, Ohio, and Illinois are particularly prone to impulse buying. And people from Florida, Michigan, and Alabama spend the most online. It’s these buyers your products and shipping should focus on if you’re not selling essential items in Q4.
Sustainability SeekersRoughly 2 out of 3 shoppers care about social issues and sustainability. So, you can be sure that Amazon buyers take an interest in how ethical your business is. If you don’t have a Climate Pledge Friendly badge, this would be a good time to update your A storefront is the page Amazon u… More and showcase your sustainability values. Focus on logistics, employee diversity, packaging material, how eco-friendly your products are, whether any ingredients are harmful, and if you invest in sustainability (e.g. ESG investing, donating to sustainability NGOs, reducing R&D carbon footprint, planting trees,).
Better, Not CheaperThinkwithGoogle reports that people’s word searches are changing too. These days, we don’t look for “cheap” products nearly as much as we do for the “best” products. Why should we? We know buying online is almost always cheaper than in-store shopping due to price comparisons and showrooming. With back-to-back Sponsored Display ads lining our search pages, we can decide for ourselves if an offer is cheap or not. Speaking of cheap, bear in mind that Treasure Trucks no longer roam the cities with massively discounted items. Instead, buyers can order them (on the app only) and have them delivered.
Apps AplentyGoogle says the number of people who have tried mobile shopping rose from a quarter last year to a third this year. Also, people tend to use retailer apps more than they do brand apps now (e.g. Amazon, Walmart, and Costco rather than Shop Disney, Banana Republic, or GAP+). So, Amazon sellers are competing with the likes of Walmart and Costco. That’s why they should time their offers on the Amazon app adequately. For instance, they can launch Lightning Deals on Amazon as soon as competing offers expire at other online stores.
Above All, AvailabilityThoughtshift reports that even after high-street shops reopened in the UK, buyers carried on doing their shopping online. Oddly, price wasn’t as big a factor this time. ThinkwithGoogle put it down to convenience and home delivery. It’d be interesting to see if the same can be said of the USA. But there is an exception: new retailers. Apparently, UK shoppers will choose a new retailer over others based primarily on availability and price. Convenience and speed are taken into account too. As for quality or reputation, that’s more of an afterthought. So, if you’re a new seller, FBA might work for you.
Lockdown DownsizingFamily dynamics are changing as people’s social bubbles are redefined. And this translates into smaller family gatherings over the holidays. Some families might limit gift-buying and focus solely on their quarantine bubble members. Others might overcompensate and splurge on gifts for everyone. But your best bet is to go for items that can be given to close family members, rather than distant relatives or friends. After all, if worse comes to worst and there are lockdowns in place over the holiday, presents that weren’t given face-to-face have a better chance of being returned.
Gadgets GaloreProfessionals are moving to rural areas, according to Forbes. And they want to take their city comforts with them. So, furniture, furnishings, smart home devices, Wi-Fi extenders, USB towers, security cameras, thermostats, and robot vacuum cleaners are some of the items they’ll shop for this Q4.
Bubble BluesPeople’s circumstances have changed this year. Some have more time on their hands, and they might use this hiatus to pamper themselves. Others are feeling the emotional toll of loneliness or loss. Others, still, are swamped with work. The common denominator is stress. Amazon sellers who offer anti-stress products have an excellent opportunity this year to meet this growing demand and do a world of good.
Inclusiveness & DiversityThis being an election year, people’s political persuasions may affect their buying behavior this Q4 more than ever. And identity politics has a way of bringing minorities in the spotlight. So, sellers would do well to think about listing products that minorities think of as comforting, relatable, or traditional. Most Amazon sellers focus on Christmas and Boxing Day, as well as BFCM (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday). But sellers with a more diverse catalog have several other important holidays they could try to focus on:
- Singles Day, Veterans Day, Diwali, El Buen Fin in November
- Hanukkah, Green Monday, and Free Shipping Day mid-December
Customer BiasesIt’s not all about finding a product. A lot of thought goes into sealing the deal. ThinkwithGoogle claims there are now 6 biases that influence an online shopper’s decision to place an order. Here’s how they translate for Amazon sellers and what you can do to address them:
- Category heuristics: short descriptions of key specs (e.g. bullet points on Product Page).
- Power of now: urgency (e.g. 15 minutes before Lightning Deals are taken from carts).
- Social proof: recommendations and reviews (e.g. Early Reviewer Program).
- Scarcity bias: limited supply (e.g. listing 1 or 2 units at a time).
- Authority bias: trustworthy expert (e.g. Amazon Associates).
- Power of free: freebies and add-ons (e.g. extended warranty, complimentary upgrade, discounts on future orders, FBA Subscribe & Save etc.).
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.