LOS ANGELES - As the holiday season approaches and the coronavirus pandemic continues, companies are adjusting their business plans as holiday sales are expected to take place mainly online.
Lowe’s Home Improvement will offer free Christmas tree delivery for the first time, the company announced Tuesday.
Starting Friday, Oct. 30, trees and decorative holiday items, including wreaths and tree containers, will be available for free delivery.
"Our homes have never been more meaningful to our lives than they have been in 2020," said Marisa Thalberg, Lowe's executive vice president, chief brand and marketing officer. "Over the past few months, we've seen our homes rise, if imperfectly, to meet all that we've needed from them. As we approach the holidays, the idea of gifting the home feels especially right. It's a giving back in a way, but most importantly when you gift your home as a family, it's a gift you can both give, and enjoy, together."
And Black Friday will also look different this year, as businesses choose to put sales online in order to reduce overcrowding at stores.
Walmart announced a revamp to its annual Black Friday sale, moving it to a month-long event held primarily online with discounts over the course of three events in November.
Meanwhile, Amazon kicked off its Holiday Dash event last week, which features different deals each day.
Shoppers clog the aisles at Macy's Department store November 28, 2003 in New York City.
“With customers starting their shopping earlier than ever this year, the holidays are already underway at Kohl’s and we’re excited to offer a holiday assortment that speaks to how our customers are living today,” said Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Holiday Celebrations COVID-19 guidance and classified “going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving” as a higher-risk activity.
Businesses have chosen to change its tactics and start holiday sales earlier in the year, as concern grows about online orders not arriving on time.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) issued a campaign called “New Holiday Traditions” to encourage consumers to shop safe and shop early amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is going to be a historic holiday season and while some memorable traditions may change, the tradition of retailers supporting their customers and their communities is stronger than ever. That is why we encourage consumers to adopt two new traditions this year – shop safe and shop early – so we can all celebrate a happy and healthy holiday,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want, in stock at the price they want to pay, delivered at the time they want to receive them.”
According to the NRF, November is historically the most popular month to start holiday shopping. Forty-three percent of holiday shoppers surveyed this year said they are waiting until November to start buying for the season, and 59% plan to shift more of their shopping online compared with last year, according to NRF’s annual consumer holiday survey.
“In a year that has been full of uncertainty, we encourage consumers to avoid the last-minute stresses of the holiday season like long lines and shipping delays. Retailers are ready with inventory and sales, and there’s no reason to wait until Thanksgiving weekend to kick off your gift shopping,” Shay said.