“Although the October to December holiday period gave a boost to sales for 2020, it wasn’t enough to outdo the previous year’s sales figures, or make a significant dent in the damage caused by COVID-19,” said Kylie Ross Sibert, VP Communications at Retail Alliance.
“Nearly a third of small businesses reported a decrease of 15% or more in sales during the holiday period versus the year prior, and 45 percent overall saw a decrease in sales.
“On a more positive note, 36 percent overall reported increases of holiday sales year over year, with 19 percent of those reporting an increase of 15 percent or more.
When segmenting between industry, it was clear that any increase in holiday sales was experienced by retailers versus restaurants. Over half of restaurants surveyed experienced 15% or more decrease in holidays during 2020 versus 2019.
The pandemic challenged retailers across the board. Customer concerns about safety due to COVID-19 was a challenge for 81% of businesses, along with concerns about the economy (72%), product availability (71%), lack of awareness of local stores (69%), and reduced store capacity (64%). Interestingly, increase in online shopping appeared further down the list at 54% after cash flow (59%).