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Holiday Shopping by the Numbers: Trends for the 2022 Season


The last couple holiday seasons have been a wild ride for retailers and shoppers alike. The pandemic, supply chain issues, staffing challenges and shipping delays have all drastically changed the holiday shopping landscape, leading to unprecedented shopping season after unprecedented shopping season.

As for the 2022 season? Another set of challenges is looming, with inflation driving up costs and economic uncertainty throwing shoppers and retailers alike for a loop. To get a read on how consumers are approaching holiday shopping this year, we conducted a survey of 1,072 U.S. adults. See methodology.

Among our top findings:

  • Roughly half of shoppers say they’ll be buying fewer things this year due to inflation — and coupons remain one of the top ways consumers will use to “get around” inflation this season.
  • Holiday shoppers are planning to get an extra-early start this year.
  • Holiday shopping budgets are lower this year than last year.

Inflation Is Putting a Damper on Holiday Spending, but Consumers Plan to Be Strategic

With inflation worries impacting consumer spending budgets for the holiday, RetailMeNot found that consumers will be spending 8% less than they did last year: $725 on average, compared to $786 last year.

And that’s having a ripple effect across consumer behavior this season, with 85% of general consumers saying they have been impacted in some way by inflation. Specifically, 41% of consumers were forced to reduce their overall budgets. Another 24% are tapping into their savings, and yet another 23% are prioritizing which bills to pay.

How is that all shaping consumer behavior this holiday shopping season? Our survey found that 70% of shoppers are taking inflation into consideration — and, specifically, coping with inflation by:

  • Buying fewer things: 51%.
  • Using more coupons: 36%.
  • Scaling back on gift giving: 27%.
  • Spacing out purchases over several months: 24%.
  • Buying more in bulk: 23%.
  • Trying new brands: 22%.
  • Buying more used items: 22%.
Young cheerful Asian woman shopping for accessories in boutique.
Image: tangmingtung / Getty

Shoppers Will Be Out Early This year 

The holiday shopping season has already begun, with Amazon’s Prime Early Access event and Target’s Deal Days in October, not to mention all the pre-Black Friday events retailers are running.

Our survey found that more than half of shoppers plan to get started before Thanksgiving (traditionally the gateway to the holiday shopping season).

Holiday shopping events consumers plan on shopping:

  • Early deals (including Prime Early Access): 56%.
  • Cyber Monday: 55%.
  • Black Friday: 53%.
  • Pre-Black Friday deals: 52%.
  • Cyber Week: 50%.
  • Small Business Saturday: 42%.
  • Cash Back Day: 38% (up from 33% last year).
  • Panic Saturday/Super Saturday: 36% (up from 30% last year).

This early start to holiday shopping isn’t necessarily new. In past years, we’ve also found the majority of shoppers get started well before Thanksgiving weekend. 

That said, our survey found that this year, consumers may be extra eager to get an early start:

  • About the same percentage of shoppers said they planned to shop early deals (56%) as shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year.
  • Cash Back Day (Nov. 3 and 4) will draw almost 40% of shoppers (more than last year), pulling in those who are ready to shop early AND get cash back to use later in the season.

Regardless of which sales they shop, shoppers will have plenty of options. In previous years, we’ve seen major retailers kick off “pre” Black Friday sales as early as October, and this year, major retailers — including Target, JCPenney and Best Buy — have already announced they’ll be launching Black Friday-worthy deals from now until Thanksgiving.

Black Friday Hype: Cyber Week Trends from Holiday Shoppers

Despite all of these early sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (a span of time we like to call Cyber Week), are the main holiday-shopping event. But things have changed recently, with the pandemic leading to major retailers across the board staying closed on Thanksgiving. Stores will be open (in many cases, extra early) on Black Friday, though, and shoppers plan to do at least some of their shopping in person.

We dug into how shoppers plan to tackle their Black Friday plans and found: 

  • Most shoppers (76%) agree stores should be open on Black Friday. 
  • Over half of shoppers (53%) are going to shop on Black Friday this year. 
  • 53% of shoppers noted they’d be shopping in-store for Black Friday deals.
  • When it comes to retailers, shoppers are most excited to shop at Amazon (38%), Walmart (21%) and Target (11%) this Cyber Week. 
man holds gift card in red box behind his back
Image: Grace Cary / Getty

Gift Cards Top Shopping Holiday Lists for 2022

We also asked what consumers are most likely to buy this holiday season and according to RetailMeNot insights:

  • 56% plan to purchase gift cards.
  • 51% plan to purchase clothing/accessories. 
  • 40% plan to purchase toys.
  • 35% plan to purchase food/beverage.
  • 33% plan to purchase electronic items.
  • 32% plan to purchase shoes.
  • 27% plan to purchase books.

When it comes to prioritizing their gift recipients, kids are No. 1, followed by spouses. However, almost half of shoppers plan to do some self-gifting this year.

  • 54% for their children.
  • 52% for their spouse/significant other.
  • 45% for themselves.
  • 41% for their parents.
  • 35% for their siblings.

We also wanted to see if anyone would be shopping for holidays during work hours and found that 37% of shoppers say they actually plan to do their holiday shopping online during work hours this season! 

Survey methodology

Source: A Ziff Media Group Holiday Shopping Survey conducted to 1,072 U.S. adults (18+) planning to shop the upcoming holiday season, between Sept. 2 and 6, 2022.

The post Holiday Shopping by the Numbers: Trends for the 2022 Season appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.



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