Do consumers shop more during the holiday season?

Christmas is approaching at lightning speed, so people will likely mark those desired items on their holiday list and buy their loved ones memorable gifts.

But did you ever wonder what this shopping fever is during the holiday season all about? You’ve probably noticed the crowds in stores and the number of items bought during this period. So, the question “Do consumers really shop more during this time?” inevitably comes up. Well, there’s a whole debate on this subject, as various studies have tried to analyze consumer holiday shopping behavior. It seems that even in times of economic uncertainty, US customers are still planning to spend for the holidays, whether for themselves or their loved ones. Sellers that provide good discounts are likely to come out on top in this case. Consumers are, thus, seeking value, and it’s only normal to do so. Their preferences and needs have also suffered some changes, especially if we’re to consider the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on shopping and almost every aspect of life. Now, individuals are prepared to go all out to celebrate the winter holidays. More than that, according to a Gallup study, US consumers plan to spend generously – an average of $932 – on holiday presents, the highest amount Gallup has recorded since before Covid-19. Nonetheless, people are hesitant about saying their spending will increase.

Read on for further insights into this holiday shopping situation:

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Consumers have already got into the festive spirit

Surprisingly or not, the quest for the perfect gift started early this early. People have already got into the festive spirit, starting their year-end purchases, whether simply looking for inspiration or making their first purchase. If people had a challenging time last Christmas because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, the situation appears to be happier, if we could say so. Consumers confronted price fluctuations and availability uncertainty during the pandemic, finding themselves in a situation where they could not buy themselves or their friends that most desired gift. Thus, they’re already researching beforehand to make sure they catch that offer but do so based on their available budget.

Interestingly, although consumers are primed to shop, they’re, however, not willing to spend that much. As Think With Google suggests, people’s budgets are tighter, so the search for “cheap but good” items inevitably increased by about 40% in 2022. Thus, we can assume that customers are more cautious, selecting products and brands more selectively.

Discounts, quality yet reasonable products, and uniqueness are customers’ top priorities this year, so if you’re just wondering what you can do to attract consumers this holiday season, this is the answer. You may also want to employ a one-of-a-kind marketing campaign and advertise your services based on the holiday spirit. For example, if you rely on video marketing – a top-notch strategy in today’s digital era – ensure you include free Christmas music, images, and graphs in your content to catch consumer attention.

Twinkle, twinkle, little…content

Customers who haven’t made up their minds to buy something still search for inspiration and ideas. After all, it’s not that simple to get a shopping list in place, particularly at a time when every member of the family is likely to be reunited. So, where do customers draw their inspiration from? Social media, of course! This is the best place to find varied product ideas, as brands often post their products and prices here. Search engines and videos also play a significant role in this regard, as they usually offer customers more than an image of the product but insightful information about its pros and cons, usage, operation, and much more. That’s why most brands choose to advertise their goods by means of more than one channel, usually combining the above-mentioned ones.

Increasingly more customers choose to shop in stores

Not only do consumers shop more deliberately this year, but they also seem to prefer in-store shopping to online shopping. The truth is that, during the pandemic, people adapted to the once-most-preferred way of shopping – online. But now that the pandemic is over, they can finally choose between the two means – interestingly, many of them express a desire to return to stores. According to a JLL survey of 1,080 consumers, about 63% plan to shop from physical stores this year, at least part of their to-buy items. But why are shoppers venturing to stores? Well, there are a bunch of reasons! 54.5% of them said that their main reason is to actually view the products before buying, a significant part of the respondents (36.9%) simply like the ambience of a physical store, and 32.7% are more into savings, choosing in-store shopping over online shopping to avoid delays and shipping costs. Buying in person is definitely a trend in 2022, and since the pandemic is over, something tells us that in the coming years, too. And we can only agree – nothing is like the magic of seeking gifts for loved ones (sometimes even for yourself), listening to in-store Christmas songs, seeing – and feeling – the items, and even waiting in the queue.

Advice for companies that need to adapt to the trend

Given the above facts, can we presume that all consumers want for Christmas is red-hot sales, uniqueness, and authenticity? Sort of! The truth is that 2022 has been full of changes and surprises as regards customer expectations, and companies need to adapt to the trend in order to thrive. First, businesses should focus on earlier (not necessarily bigger) promotions. Since people are interested in finding their needed goods earlier this year, retailers need to adapt and thus kick off the Christmas-shopping season with hard-to-ignore promotions, competitive value, and customized offerings. Second, companies should allow for more buying flexibility, i.e., providing flexible fulfillment options (shipping, in-store pickup) and employing a price match guarantee. Also, it would be helpful to keep a long-term pulse on trade-offs to help consumers acquire everything they might have planned to.

So, are consumers prone to spend more money during the holiday season? So and so! People certainly buy things, but this time they’re more deliberate about their choices.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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