How will COVID-19 impact Dutch holiday shopping?


How will COVID-19 impact Dutch holiday shopping?

Consumer Tracker Holiday Special

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our everyday lives, it is safe to say that the upcoming holiday season will be unlike any other we’ve seen. This year, health and financial anxieties are reshaping how shoppers approach the season–many are planning to spend more time at home and avoid public places, limit or avoid family gatherings and social events, visit in-store shops less frequently, and limit or avoid travel. Diving deeper into the impact of COVID-19 on holiday shopping in The Netherlands, our Consumer Tracker holiday survey explores the shopping behaviours and preferences of Dutch consumers as they navigate this unique season.

How are Dutch consumers feeling shortly before the holiday season?

As we approach the holiday season, consumers continue to express concerns about their physical well-being and feelings of anxiety. This is particularly true for consumers aged 55 and older. Nearly half of the Dutch respondents mentioned they are feeling anxious, the main reason for this being COVID-19 (83%), followed by societal unrest (45%). One-third of them, primarily those with a lower income, are worried about their financial situation.

When it comes to entertainment and leisure, more than two-thirds of the respondents expressed that they do not feel safe attending in-person events. In line with that, the large majority of the respondents are avoiding international flights and hotels in the next three months, mostly because they are postponing their vacation until the pandemic decreases. With regards to in-store purchasing, whilst most of the respondents feel safe when going to the store, one-third is still keeping their home stocked more than they normally would. We also see that one-third is willing to spend more on convenience shopping options such as food grocery deliveries, primarily to protect their health and reduce their number of visits to the store.

When looking at general spending behaviour, the respondents are planning to spend more on everyday household goods (+14%), savings (+11%), utilities (+9%) and healthcare (+8%) this month vs. last month. Everyday household goods healthcare are still purchased primarily in-store. On the contrary, respondents are looking to online channels when buying take-out food (30%), electronics (25%), and clothing and footwear (19%). When ordering online, respondents prefer packages to be delivered to their homes instead of picking them up in-store.

Podcast: 35 years of holiday trends

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How will Dutch consumers shop this holiday season?

As we near the end of November,  the question that is on every retailer’s mind is – how will COVID-19 impact the Dutch holiday season? According to the results of our holiday survey, the majority of respondents will spend more time at home and avoid public places, especially those that are older. They also plan to limit or avoid family gatherings and social events, will visit in-store shops less frequently, and will limit or avoid travel.


How will spending change compared to last year?

With regards to holiday spending, 44% of respondents is planning to spend more this year, whereas 56% is likely to spend less. Those who are planning to spend more are mainly motivated by promotions and discounts, improvement in personal or household situation, and the need to update personal or household items. Nonetheless, we see that the average holiday spending of Dutch consumers is expected to be 43% less during the holiday season (€205 vs. €362 last year). The main reasons for this are the pandemic-related restrictions, having fewer people to buy gifts for, and wanting to save rather than spend money. Overall, the younger generations will spend more than the older generation this holiday season.  

When compared to other European consumers, the Dutch are planning to spend the least this holiday season. On average, a Dutch consumer will spend €205, whereas a German consumer will spend €343, a Spanish consumer will spend €261, and a Polish consumer will spend €287.


What will Dutch consumers buy?

Our survey results show that Dutch consumers are planning to spend less on gifts (-8%), leisure & entertainment (-51%), food & beverage (-30%), and travel (-95%) as compared to last year. Consequently, gifts constitute a much larger percentage of total spending this year, while travel now only takes up a small part of total spending. When buying gifts for friends and family that are adults, the most popular categories are food, drinks and gourmet (30%), cosmetics and
perfumes (26%), home, deco & furniture (22%), and toys and hobbies (22%). For
kids and teenagers, the most popular categories are toys and hobbies and money. When asked what kinds of gifts they would like to receive, respondents
mentioned that money, gift cards and subscription plans are high on their


When and where will Dutch consumers shop?

With respect to timing, we see that almost two-thirds of holiday season shopping will take place in December, particularly between December 15th and 21st. Dutch consumers are planning to spend only 10% of their holiday budget during Black Friday. When looking at the preferred channels for holiday shopping, fewer respondents are looking to purchase their gifts in-store compared to last year. Online channels are particularly popular when purchasing gifts in the electronic gadgets, travel and leisure, gift cards and subscription plans, and toys and hobbies categories.

Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey & State of the Consumer Tracker

Deloitte’s holiday retail survey is turning 35 this year! To honor the long tradition, our U.S. team recorded a nostalgic podcast featuring retail leaders breaking down some of the industry’s long biggest trends, and supplemental data from Deloitte’s Insight IQ. This year, our Dutch version of the holiday retail survey was conducted as part of the Consumer Tracker, for which Deloitte surveys 1,000 consumers across 18 countries every month to understand the impact of the interplay between personal health and financial well-being on consumer behavior as a result of COVID-19. The Dutch version of the holiday retail survey was conducted amongst 1,000 Dutch consumers and took place between October 29th and November 4th 2020.

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