5 Things to Know about Holiday Shoppers This Season

SurveysOct 06, 2022

5 Things to Know about Holiday Shoppers This Season

From inflation concerns to in-store shopping, KPMG’s latest holiday survey dives into when, where, and how consumers want to shop.

2022_Holiday gifts.jpg
A holiday survey by KPMG found consumers’ top concern this season was inflation.
New York—This holiday season, the Grinch is inflation.

In a new report by accounting titan KPMG, rising prices topped respondents’ list of concerns heading into the holidays.

For its “Consumer Pulse Survey: Holiday 2022” survey, KPMG reached out to around 900 Americans to get a sense of their holiday plans, including what they’ll spend and on who.

Here are five important takeaways from the report.

Consumers will likely spend more on gifts this year, but many will give gifts to fewer people.

Holiday shoppers plan to spend, on average, $1,072 this season, a 6 percent increase compared with 2021. Nearly 44 percent plan to spend $500 to $2,000.

Notably, compared with the prior year, this year’s increased spending is expected to be in essential rather than discretionary categories.

“While consumers remain resilient and plan to spend a bit more this holiday season, it will likely not outpace inflation,” said Matt Kramer, KPMG’s consumer and retail national sector leader.

“Consumers will be looking for promotions this holiday season and retailers should be looking to respond by having desirable gifts for the budget conscious consumer.”

While shoppers may be spending more, their gifting list could be getting shorter.

One in four respondents said they would buy gifts for fewer people this year. Only 14 percent expect to buy presents for more people.

Less than half of respondents said they would buy holiday gifts for their parents or in-laws.

Fewer respondents plan to buy gifts for their significant other, siblings, friends, grandparents, and co-workers.

Shoppers will spend an estimated $250 per year per gift recipient this year, said the report, an 11 percent increase compared with $225 last year.

As for what they’ll be buying, the top choice (55 percent) is apparel followed by retail gift cards and gift certificates at 55 percent. Of those surveyed, 24 percent plan to buy jewelry, flat against last year’s count.

Inflation is the top concern for consumers.

Inflation topped the list of shopper concerns with 85 percent of those surveyed saying they were at least somewhat concerned about inflation.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices over time consumers will pay for a basket of goods and services, rose 8 percent year-over-year in August and 0.1 percent month-over-month.

In response to inflation concerns, 37 percent said they would buy fewer gifts per person while 34 percent plan to buy less expensive gifts.

However, 21 percent of respondents concerned said they would not change their behavior. 

The second-most prevalent concern for shoppers (63 percent) is out-of-stock items.

To get that perfect gift before it sells out, respondents plan to shop early (46 percent) and shop online (35 percent). 

The third-biggest concern is delayed shipping at 57 percent. The most popular solution for that was shopping early (53 percent), followed by shopping more in person (25 percent).

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Fewer consumers will be shopping early.

A majority of holiday shoppers are not planning to shop as early as they did in 2020 and 2021.

There will still be an early start, with 52 percent starting in October or earlier, but that’s down from last year’s 61 percent.

Most holiday shoppers plan on shopping Black Friday sales (60 percent) and Cyber Monday (51 percent).

For the first time, Amazon is holding a second Prime Day sale, slated for Oct.11-12, and 42 percent of respondents plan to shop on those days.

As online shopping popularity increases, many still want to buy jewelry in person.

Looking at shopping preferences, 36 percent of respondents said they prefer to shop online rather than in store, up from 23 percent last year.

However, when buying jewelry, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) said they would prefer to have that experience in person.

The same was said for the apparel, decor, furniture, and automotive categories.

When doing holiday shopping research, retailer websites were the top choice at 52 percent followed by word of mouth from family and friends (51 percent).

As for where else consumers will shop, a majority of respondents (73 percent) said they were “likely” or “extremely likely” to shop at mass market retailers, followed by discount stores (56 percent).

Notably, luxury department stores were at the bottom of the list at 18 percent.

Travel and holiday gatherings are back.

Consumers are planning to attend more holiday gatherings this year, 5.9 on average compared with 5.5 last year, with family events being the most popular choice.

In preparation for the holiday fun, 12 percent of respondents said they planned to buy jewelry to wear. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) will buy a host gift.

Travel is one of jewelry’s main competitors in the quest for discretionary dollars, and nearly one-third of respondents plan to travel this Thanksgiving, up from 2021.

More than one-third of respondents plan to travel for the winter holidays, 5 percent more than in 2021.

Travelers are also expected to pay more to get to these destinations this year. Expected travel spend this year is $1,388, a 26 percent increase compared with $1,106 last year.

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