Now is the time to start holiday shopping in 2020

Amanda Tarlton, Reviewed.com
·4 min read
Holiday shopping 2020: What you need to know
Holiday shopping 2020: What you need to know

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Planning to wait until Black Friday to start your holiday shopping? You might want to reconsider, according to experts. The holiday shopping season is starting much earlier this year, as retailers attempt to compensate for a decline in brick-and-mortar shopping and a change in consumer behavior amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only did a recent Coresight Research survey find that more than 25% of shoppers expect to start holiday shopping earlier than usual in 2020, but Amazon has also confirmed that it will start its Black Friday deals early, hinting that the sale could begin even weeks ahead of the day itself. Other retailers are following suit, like Home Depot, for instance, who announced that its holiday sales will start on November 8.

We, at Reviewed, are all about helping you buy the right things at the right prices at the right times. And that includes all of your holiday presents. If you want to get a jump on your gift giving this year, below is everything you need to know about holiday shopping during a pandemic, along with this year's holiday shipping deadlines and what gifts are predicted to sell out (i.e. what you should be ordering ASAP).

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Why you should start holiday shopping early

Holiday shopping 2020
Holiday shopping 2020

To avoid delayed gifts or sold-out stock, experts recommend starting your holiday shopping sooner rather than later. "With potential product shortages continuing, if you see something you know you want, go ahead and buy it," Karl Haller, partner and retail industry expert at IBM Global Business Services, advises.

If you've bought anything online the last few months, you've probably experienced shipping delays—and that's likely a trend that will continue into the holiday season. "We expect to see continued pressure on shipping, as more packages flow through the system. We have already seen some of the major carriers impose fees on package shipping in anticipation of this," Haller says, adding that IBM also expects further increases in alternative delivery options like buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS), curbside pick-up, package lockers, etc.

In light of what's predicted to be heavier-than-usual shipping needs this year, retailers and shipping companies alike are preparing the best way they can. Amazon told USA Today that the e-commerce giant is adding new transportation capacity and hiring 100,000 new employees in anticipation of the high holiday demand, while Fedex is hiring 70,000 workers (a 27 percent increase over last year).

Holiday shipping deadlines 2020

If you want your package to arrive by Christmas Day, below are the deadlines for some of the largest shipping companies, according to both the USPS's recently-released dates and EasyShip. Important note: While the below dates are good guidelines to follow, please keep in mind that these dates could change based on demand as we get further along in the season.

UPS

  • UPS Ground Shipping: Wednesday, December 16

  • UPS Next Day Air: Friday, December 18

  • UPS 2nd Day Air: Friday, December 18

  • UPS 3 Day Select: Saturday, December 19

FedEx

  • FedEx Ground/Home Delivery: Saturday, December 19

  • FedEx Express Saver: Monday, December 21

  • FedEx 2Day: Tuesday, December 22

  • FedEx Overnight: Wednesday, December 23

USPS

  • USPS Retail Ground: Thursday, December 15

  • First-Class Mail: Friday, December 18

  • Priority Mail: Saturday, December 19

  • USPS Priority Mail Express: Wednesday, December 23

The most popular gifts to buy now before they sell out

You now know when to shop—but how about what to shop? Experts expect an increase in demand for products and tangible gifts, as opposed to experiential gifts (like concert tickets, events, etc.) since people are unsure of what the year ahead holds. "We’ve already seen this happen over the recent Mother’s and Father’s Day holidays, where popular general merchandise categories saw sales lift for the week that was two and three times what it was in 2019," Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor of Retail at The NPD Group, said in a release.

Our own shopping experts have spent the last few weeks rounding up all of the year's most popular gifts, whether you're shopping for your mom, your sister, your boyfriend, or your kids. Some of the top gifts we expect could sell out quickly? The cult-favorite Apple AirPods Pro, the Gravity weighted blanket that everyone's obsessed with, and the wildly popular Always Pan.

Shop all of our favorite gifts of 2020

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed.com: Holiday shopping 2020: Why you should start shopping early