This holiday season is going to be different.
Every holiday season brings sales events like the Chinese Singles’ Day, followed by Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday buying season in America that takes place in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The holidays are an important time of the year for retailers. It is also a great time for customers who have an endless choice of sales, holiday specials, doorbuster deals, waived shipping fees, and more. All of this did not change this year.
Yet, this is a whole new season.
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2020 holiday season trends
2020 is the year of COVID-19, and we are facing a pandemic holiday season.
Brick-and-mortar retailers hope to prevent crowded stores and encourage shoppers to shop early. Most also encourage them to shop online. As for shoppers, instead of going for in-store purchases, more will find the next great deal from the comfort of their homes.
Pandemic or not, it looks like shoppers want to shop. A recent report by Deloitte reported by CNBC in September suggested that holiday retail spending could increase by up to 1.5% this year, rising to over $1.15 trillion in sales between November and January. In October, CNBC reported that Adobe Analytics estimates online sales this November and December are forecast to surge 33% year over year to a record $189 billion. Yet even as e-commerce sales increase, many brands suffer the results of shutdowns, economic strains, and the overall situation.
The shift to online sales and COVID-19
COVID-19 has a huge impact on consumer buying behaviors. Consumer activity has seen a shift from “nonessential” to “essential” businesses as well as a shift to online platforms. The surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, lockdowns, and fear of infection made consumers turn to online channels even more than before, some of them for the first time.
The shift towards e-commerce is evident not only on marketplaces and websites but also on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. This year, TikTok has also announced that it would enable creators to sell merchandise directly to fans through the app as part of an integration with the Teespring e-commerce platform.
And where there is profit, there are those who attempt to exploit it.
Holiday season counterfeits and online threats
The online shopping trend has grown since the pandemic, with almost all categories increasing their online consumer base. Still, this time of year provides an even further opportunity to increase online sales.
E-commerce sales bring in revenue and growth opportunities, but they also pose more threats from scammers who try to exploit the opportunity to profit off authentic brands and mislead consumers. Counterfeits, replicas, knockoffs, imitations and other forms of brand infringements abound. The threat grows even bigger during holiday shopping.
This year more than ever, authorities are warning consumers to watch out for counterfeit goods, especially when shopping online.
Hans Leiterman, assistant area port director with US Customs and Border Protection in Chicago told ABC7 News, “We see at the mail facility 57 million parcels a year and between November and January. We consider it our holiday peak season.” He added, “We see roughly a third of our volume during that time.” This volume is estimated to grow even more this year, with the increase in online shopping.
In November, before the end of the year, Leiterman said, “For fiscal year 2020, CBP seized approximately 26,000 shipments containing counterfeit goods that would have been worth a little over $1.3 billion.”
Although counterfeits often come from abroad, it is not evident on online platforms. In fact, many of the methods consumers apply to distinguish genuine from fake are not effective online. When shopping online, consumers are at a disadvantage and more easily deceived.
Counterfeit goods hide in plain sight right next to genuine products, making it almost impossible to tell which is which. Unauthorized sellers are difficult to identify when they appear on your trusted marketplace, which gives them false legitimacy.
They also appear next to reputable brands, with online platforms offering them opportunities to hide their true identity. On Amazon, for example, unauthorized sellers can hijack listings or use sponsored listings to promote their products.
Brand reputation earns consumer trust in the quality and safety of the products they buy, and counterfeiters take advantage of that trust and deceive them into purchasing their illegitimate products.
Fake reviews have been known to increase during the holiday shopping season. Yet this year, Bloomberg reports that Fakespot Inc., the fake reviews monitoring service, estimates that fake reviews on Amazon.com during the pandemic reached levels typically seen during the holiday shopping season even before the season began.
Then there’s the price. Even online, price is often an indicator that a product is fake. As a result, the holiday season, with its overwhelming choice of discounts and sales, makes it even more difficult to identify fake from real.
A significantly lower price is no longer a warning sign but signifies your success in finding the best deal. Besides, the pandemic has caused financial difficulties, making consumers more likely to choose the budget over verifying product authenticity.
Moreover, holiday shopping always has some must-have, popular products in high demand selling out fast. Such high demand is an opportunity for counterfeiters who step in to fill the desires of eager consumers.
The Wiser solution
Counterfeit goods, replicas, knockoffs, and gray market goods are a problem all year long. But higher demand during the holiday season makes it an especially vulnerable time for brands. And this holiday season, the rise in online shopping makes online brand protection more crucial than ever.
This holiday season and going forward, protect your brand with a comprehensive strategy and an ally that can effectively combat online threats.
Wiser Market offers an online brand protection solution to fight online IP infringements. Our advanced monitoring system provides ongoing monitoring 24/7. With our team of in-house experts we bring real value to your brand protection efforts.
We work with online platforms such as Amazon to take down infringements and deter counterfeiters from further exploiting your brand.
Whether you wish to fight counterfeiting, prevent trademark and copyright infringements, combat gray market selling, or protect your domain name – Wiser Market can do it for you with unrivaled results.
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