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License Global Magazine content director Amanda Cioletti details six holiday retail predictions from a licensing perspective. 

Spending will be spread out more so than in years past, which kicked off with Amazon’s Prime Day, Oct. 13-14 (typically it is in July, with 2019 earnings at $6.93 billion worldwide.)

Early sales figures out of Prime Day suggest that spending is holding, with the company reporting that third-party sellers made more than $3.5 billion from the event, a 60% increase YOY.

Multiple retailers are following in Amazon’s footsteps to compete for shoppers dollars, particularly as Black Friday, which is typically the pinnacle of holiday shopping and the official start to the season on the day after Thanksgiving, is not able to shape up like in years past due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

That being said, it is likely that shoppers will be more deliberate in their spending.

Deloitte is predicting that holiday retail sales will rise between 1% and 1.5% ($1.147 trillion and $1.152 trillion) between November and January, which is less robust in years past.

Economies are hard hit right now and that figure continues to be optimistic.

According to Deloitte, while high unemployment and economic anxiety will depress wallets, savings from activities, restaurants and travel may allow for an influx on product spending. 

Not surprisingly (or as we say around here, a 'bright flash of the obvious') is that eCommerce will enjoy a huge lift during the holiday shopping period.

Salesforce estimates that up to 30% of (US) retail sales will be made through digital channels this holiday season, and, should the pandemic environment persist or deepen, I predict this could even be a conservative figure.

Stock might be an issue for retailers, given the strain on the supply chains over 2020, with either oversupply on orders that were place and fulfilled pre- and mid-pandemic for items that may not be as relevant to consumers today, or under supply of surprising hits that will not be able to be fulfilled as quickly due to on-going supply chain disruption. 

Shipping carriers continue to face speed-to-market challenges as well, as many are facing major delays due to overwhelming demand and disruptions stemming from the pandemic environment.

This will force the shopper to spread out spending and extend the holiday period, to my first point.

Consumers will look to different categories to invest in and gift this holiday season.

Apparel and footwear will be suppressed, but athleisure and comfort-focused gear will remain steady-ish.

Spending on home-centric gifts and services like at home fitness, gifts that are purposeful like personal electronics or homewares will see a lift.

On the toy front, licensed toys are going to be HUGE, thanks to millions of captive audiences stuck at home for the better part of a year now consuming nothing but content.

Expect to see Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian (Baby Yoda, to be specific); kidfluencer brands like Ryan’s World, Blippi and Cocomelon; preschool brands like Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, Blue’s Clues & You, and Disney Princess; and gaming brands like Fortnite and Animal Crossing to persist and occupy physical and online shelf space.

You’ll also see a rise in immersive toys, craft and activity-based play items, with an aim to occupy kiddos stuck at home with only their families as companions.

Gaming systems are going to be hot, with the Sony PlayStation’s PS5 due in November globally, and Nintendo’s Switch holding strong.

Education-based play items or 'edutainment' will also remain high on shopping lists.

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