Twenty-eight percent of consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season and only 10% plan to spend more than previous years, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. For consumers who anticipate spending more, the vast majority of consumers note that it is a result of brands raising prices due to inflation.
Gartner surveyed 306 consumers in July 2022 and found that nearly half (48%) of consumers will start to shop in October or November this holiday season, with 16% of consumers now shopping year-round for holiday gifts.
“While consumers have increased their discretionary spending in the past few years, inflationary pressure is impacting their spending plans for this holiday season,” said Kassi Socha, director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “This hesitancy around budgets, coupled with new timing from consumers regarding their holiday shopping, will challenge marketers to have an always-on approach that will stress the need for omnichannel adoption.”
With inflation remaining top-of-mind for consumers, price (65% of respondents), value (53%) and free shipping (51%) were the top three identified factors amongst holiday shoppers for their gift decision making this season.
When it comes to what specifically consumers are shopping for, holiday shoppers identified gift cards as their top category for gifts, followed by apparel and accessories, toys and games and food and beverage. Over 75% of holiday shoppers expect to see fewer, or the same amount, of discounts as last year’s holiday season.
Enhance Wish-List Capabilities and Prioritize Search Investments
Survey respondents said that inspiration for purchasing gifts primarily begins with recipients providing a wish list or their past purchases to help point a potential gift giver in the right direction (see Figure 1). Shoppers also turn to search first over online reviews or brand communications.
In total, one or more social media channels are a source of inspiration for 18% of consumers, but the mix is split across platforms.
"The channels through which gift givers can seek inspiration are proliferating, but consumers still trust their friends, family and search to guide them,” said Socha.