Consumer Survey Reveals What 2022 Holiday Shopping Will Be Like

Most businesses look forward to the end-of-year holidays and dread them at the same time. It’s a period of high sales (particularly in the retail industry), but it is also the most demanding time of the year from a marketing point of view.

Retailers try to attract customers with a wide variety of products, as well as deals and promotions or free shipping. As effective as these strategies are on their own, they work much better when paired with insight into buyer behavior.

With this in mind, the ad design platform Creatopy surveyed over 1,100 U.S. consumers to discover their plans for the upcoming festive season and released a study based on the findings. Here is the when, the what, and the how of 2022 holiday shopping.

The When: Shopping Start Dates

In 2022 the holiday shopping time window will be wider than in previous years. Creatopy’s survey revealed that most individuals will start crossing things off their to-buy lists a month (29.38%), two months (19.97%), or even three months (8.98%) before the holidays.

This means holiday shopping will begin as early as September for some people, and retailers need to stay one step ahead to meet seasonal demand. Not only do supply affairs need to taken care of in advance, but marketing efforts should be timed accordingly, too.

For consumers, the early start could very well be a way to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping. Still, the fact that they plan to monitor prices and search for deals at the same time they want to kick off their holiday shopping indicates that it is a way of smart spending in times of significant price surges.

Consumers’ desire to grab gifts before prices rise indicates they will do some of their holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the days with the greatest discounts.

The What: Shopping Inspiration & Popular Product Categories

With great diversity available on the market, it’s tough to get consumers to pick your products or services, but not impossible, especially when you have insight into their preferences.

So how do U.S. consumers decide what to buy for the holidays?

According to the surveyed individuals, word of mouth is the main purchase driver for this festive season (52.05%). Recommendations coming from family, friends, and acquaintances can weigh in favor or heavily against certain products or services, so businesses should strive to offer top notch customer experiences to everyone.

Next to word of mouth and the power of social proof, online ads are the second biggest source of inspiration for holiday shopping (40.63%). This means display ad campaigns should not be missing from this holiday season’s marketing strategies.

Retailers can also rely on social media channels to drive purchases. Whether that means posting festive content on their business pages, running social media ad campaigns, or dabbling in influencer marketing, there are several ways to connect with consumers on the platforms they frequently spend time on.

Both Thanksgiving weekend (Black Friday and Cyber Monday included) and Christmas will bring increased sales in the apparel, footwear and accessories, toys, games and hobbies and computer/electronics product categories.

We’re also going to see a shift to value, as people will gravitate towards those retailers that give them reasonable prices in accordance with the product’s worth.

The How: Shopping Experiences, Spending & Saving Money

Although the last few years brought an increase in online shopping coupled with a decrease in in-store purchases, people are gradually returning to shopping in person.

As a result, this year, most U.S. consumers (42.89%) will do their online shopping equally online and in-store. However, about the same percentage of individuals (41.24%) plan to make holiday purchases solely online, indicating that e-commerce is still the favorite.

Some consumers even prefer to mix online with in-store purchases, pushing retailers to adopt omnichannel shopping experiences, so don’t be surprised if you’ll see many people order online and pick up in-store this holiday season.

As far as how much they are willing to spend, this year’s festive budgets are under a big question mark. Given the unique circumstances brought about by inflation, no one knows for sure if holiday spending will take a hit. Of course, there is a lot of speculation around it, and assumptions are being made left and right.

The consumers themselves seem to be divided on the matter. Roughly half of the survey’s respondents said they are worried or very worried about inflation impacting their holiday shopping. The other half have neutral feelings or are not concerned about it.

U.S. consumers also seem to have split opinions on whether this year’s holiday budgets will measure up to last year’s. Still, they don’t plan on going above and beyond to save money, as their primary saving methods will consist of buying items on sale (71.58%) and looking for the best deals (54.75%).

Wrapping Up

Holiday shopping will start earlier this year because consumers want to stretch their budgets and avoid stress closer to the holidays. A mix of online and in-store purchases is to be expected as consumers return to their pre-pandemic habits.

At the moment, it seems like budgets won’t be significantly affected by inflation since consumers aren’t very worried about it or convinced to try too many saving methods, but things can change in the following weeks or months.

Read next: New Study Proves Consumers Would Rather Stay In Jail Than Receive Customer Support
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