A look at the upcoming holiday season

Note from the editor

The holiday season in 2020 was anything but traditional. E-commerce was already a big story in 2019, and with the specter of the coronavirus looming over the 2020 season, that trend accelerated.

Amazon moved its annual Prime Day to mid-October last year, followed swiftly by announcements from Walmart and Target that they too would hold blockbuster sales during that time frame. And effectively, the holiday shopping season was off and running as retailers worked to pull forward demand and spread shopper visits out to avoid crowds.

Already, 2021 is proving to pose its own challenges for retailers. Surging demand has caused supply chain bottlenecks, and the delta variant is wreaking havoc across the globe. Consumers are once again facing an uncertain situation, and shipping carriers are already expecting extremely high peaks — and delays.

As we look toward the 2021 holiday season, we take a peek back at how last year went, and what retailers and shipping carriers are doing to prepare for the year ahead.

Cara Salpini Senior Editor

Holidays in review: What defined the season in 2020

From virtual services and contactless pickup to a Black Friday unlike any other, retailers were forced to adapt.

• Published Dec. 31, 2020

Holiday sales could spike 9% in 2021: Deloitte

• Published Sept. 14, 2021

'You can pay or you can wait': How retailers are navigating a shipping crisis

Consumer demand came raging back this year. The supply chain wasn't ready for it, and now retailers, brands and consumers are paying the price.

• Published Aug. 2, 2021

Macy's Thanksgiving parade is letting spectators back in this year

• Published Sept. 9, 2021

Shoppers returning to their earlier pandemic behaviors, research finds

• Published Sept. 13, 2021

Target triples Disney shop-in-shops ahead of holiday season

• Published Aug. 23, 2021

UPS: Peak demand projected to exceed capacity by 5M packages daily

• Published July 28, 2021

Party City to open four times more Halloween pop-ups as in 2020

• Published Aug. 10, 2021

Walmart follows Target in closing stores on Thanksgiving Day

• Published June 7, 2021

Winners and losers of Black Friday 2020

Online sales, curbside and store pickup have all surged as a sales event defined by the pandemic took shape.

• Published Nov. 28, 2020

How retailers are preparing for the 2021 holiday season

Last year's holiday season was anything but traditional, as e-commerce trends pushed many supply chains to the edge. With the retail holiday craze approaching, discover key takeaways from 2020 and how retailers like Target and Party City are preparing to meet demand.

included in this trendline
  • Party City to open four times more Halloween pop-ups as in 2020
  • All retailers win as biggest Prime Day ever pushes US e-commerce above $11B
  • Target triples Disney shop-in-shops ahead of holiday season
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.