It’s safe to say the 2020 holiday season will be a completely different experience. Many Americans will skip their annual trip home to visit family as a precaution against COVID-19, while others will be hoping for the Christmas miracle of a full-time job.
There will be big changes to the retail landscape, too. Whether you’re planning a scaled-back holiday or expect to celebrate the same as always, here’s what you should know about shopping and saving money through the end of the year.
1. Most People Plan To Shop Despite Financial Strain
The coronavirus pandemic has touched most everyone’s lives in some way. For many, it’s had an effect on their finances. From higher expenses related to learning and working from home, to loss of jobs and income, many Americans are facing a tougher-than-usual holiday season.
Even so, 66% of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount of money or more this holiday season to create a sense of normalcy and keep traditions alive, according to a new survey by RetailMeNot.
Amazon Prime Day is expected to be the top shopping day in Q4, with 67% of people planning to make a purchase during this event. The next most-planned shopping days, according to the survey, include Cyber Monday (65%) and Black Friday (59%).
The most popular purchases are expected to be electronics (61%), followed by clothing and accessories (52%) and shoes (33%).
2. Shopping Kicks Off Much Earlier
Amazon Prime Day, which usually takes place in July, will span two days: Oct. 13 and 14. “Prime Day will open up the holiday shopping season, setting off a cascade of holiday sales that are likely to continue through early December,” said Nathan Burrow, deals expert for Wirecutter.
This push for early holiday shopping is practical as
With little more income than the state pension, Christine Chapman is careful with her money.
The 70-year-old keeps paperwork meticulously in a filing cabinet and knows what is coming in and going out.
Her bills were cut by hundreds of pounds a year, simply by switching insurance, phone and mobile suppliers.
It all sounds like an advert for competition and the benefits of shopping around.
But Mrs Chapman was lucky.
The widow, from County Durham, does not have a computer and does not know how to operate one. Her smartphone is only used for calls and messages to family and friends. She had no way of shopping around for better deals.
What she does have is a caring brother-in-law who taught IT and, after a conversation at a family gathering, realised Mrs Chapman was paying far too much on her bills.
“She has no computer, no email address, and a router was stuck in a drawer because she did not know what to do with it,” says her brother-in-law Stephen Harris.
“She is like millions of vulnerable people in this country who do not have any knowledge of the internet but trust big companies to treat her right.”
Mrs Chapman was a victim of the loyalty penalty – someone who sees prices rise every year when policies or deals are renewed.
Take her home insurance. She had been a customer with the same company for more than 30 years and was paying a premium of £575 for buildings and contents insurance for a small three-bedroom terraced home.
Mr Harris researched like-for-like policies and within 10 minutes he had found one for £80.
“I was surprised,” says Mrs Chapman. “I was a loyal
New Amazon technology, introduced at two Amazon Go stores this week, lets shoppers pay for purchases by holding their hands over a scanner. The system, called Amazon One, may herald a new way of identifying yourself and paying for things that could change the way people shop, enter concerts, use public transportation, and many other things.
You’ve probably used a fingerprint scanner or facial recognition to unlock your smartphone. You already know that your voice and your retinas can be used to positively identify you and give you access to your various devices, and possibly to secure government or corporate facilities. Amazon’s new Amazon One technology takes biometrics a step further by allowing shoppers to pay for purchases with a simple scan of their palms.
To stave off privacy concerns, the company says it is encrypting biometric data before storing it in the cloud, and that the data will be deleted from the cloud at the customer’s request. An Amazon executive told GeekWire that the company had deliberately chosen users’ palms as a biometric identifier because people can’t be recognized from their palms the way they can from their faces. (Amazon has faced controversy over law enforcement use of its facial scanning technology and has suspended such use for one year.) Another benefit is that the user must choose to hover his or her hand over the scanner, meaning that users can’t be scanned without their knowledge or consent.
Shopping in 15 seconds?
GeekWire’s Todd Bishop tried Amazon One out at Seattle’s Amazon Go stores and found that his shopping experience was incredibly fast. As the company promised, it took less than a minute to set up the scan of his palm at a small kiosk, linking it with his credit card and mobile number. Amazon Go stores have no
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