Bluedot unveiled its 2022 Holiday Shopping Habits report. Now in its third year, the annual report, based on a survey of over 1,000 American consumers conducted last month, examines consumer behavior during the fast-approaching holiday shopping season. Among the trends, this year’s edition shines a light on inflation’s impact on holiday shoppers as they prepare to do more with less.
Strikingly, buy now, pay later emerged as a key trend this year with 4 in 10 consumers indicating they plan to use the short-term financing option for holiday gifts. The data suggests further willingness among consumers to take on debt with 43% of consumers indicating they’d be more likely to open a new retail store credit card this holiday season in order to receive discounts and offers.
With more consumers forced to pinch pennies, deals and discounts are in very high demand. A staggering 88% of consumers plan to look for discounts and offers as they holiday shop, although, the majority (63%), aren’t expecting better deals. Consumers indicated they’ll hunt for discounts on retail store websites and mobile apps followed by loyalty programs, emails, and discount websites.
In-store overtook online when asked where consumers prefer and plan to do more shopping this year, strongly suggesting a come-back for stores and malls that suffered the consequences of the pandemic and social distancing. In both 2020 and 2021, consumers favored e-commerce over stores for holiday gifts. The majority (61%) also favored self-service over staff assistance, a potential sign that investments in automation strategies have paid off.
Three-quarters of shoppers acknowledged being open to marketing from retailers during the holidays. Half stated they were more willing to sign up for loyalty programs during this time. Interestingly, social commerce gained traction with 41% of consumers planning to shop via social media, a jump from 32% last year.
“This year’s holiday shopping data signals a major opportunity for retailers not just to lure consumers to the store, but also boost long-term customer engagement,” said Judy Chan, Bluedot CMO. “There is no time better than the holidays to imbue and impress consumers as they are more willing to hear from retailers. Those that prioritize loyalty from an overall mobile, digital strategy, including easy-to-use mobile apps and websites with high-value deals and discounts, are much better positioned to increase revenue, deliver a differentiated customer experience, and ultimately boost brand engagement and customer retention.”
Highlights from the report include:
- Consumers are bracing for price hikes. 91% expect prices to be higher this year due to inflation.
- High prices, inventory shortages, and long lines top the list of concerns. Top concerns for holiday shoppers include price increases (72%), inventory shortages (55%), long lines and wait times (43%), empty shelves (39%), staffing shortages (37%), and having less money (36%).
- Shoppers are wise to oversupply issues but split on whether they’ll benefit. 57% are aware that retailers are dealing with oversupply issues. Of those, 44% expect higher prices due to inflation, while 44% expect better prices.
Deals & Savings
- Nearly everyone is looking for discounts. 88% plan to look for more discounts and offers.
- Consumers aren’t expecting better deals. 63% do not expect deals to be better this year over past years.
- Americans are already saving up for holiday shopping. 3 in 4 consumers have already started saving up or are planning to save up for holiday shopping. Ways consumers are saving include looking for deals (48%), shopping earlier (31%), eating out less often (29%), and driving less to save on fuel costs (26%).
- Loyalty programs are particularly attractive during the holidays. Half of consumers are more likely to join loyalty programs during the holidays compared to other times of the year.
- Consumers are open-minded about holiday marketing. 77% are more receptive to communication from retail stores during the holiday shopping season. Their interests include coupons (52%), deals and offers (41%), saving money (39%), tracking delivery of purchases (29%), and wanting to learn more about loyalty programs (25%).
- Buy now, pay later lures holiday shoppers. Nearly 4 in 10 consumers plan to utilize buy now, pay later this holiday season.
- Nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials plan to use buy now, pay later. 48% of Gen Z and 47% of Millennial shoppers plan to take advantage of the service.
- 4 in 10 shoppers are more likely to open a retailer’s credit card during the holidays. The most attractive offers and perks include a percentage off purchase, to get a gift card, extra loyalty points, and additional perks.
Shopping Preferences and Behaviors
- In-store shopping makes a comeback. Consumers ranked in-store shopping as the top shopping method followed by online shopping.
- BOPIS is widely popular among holiday shoppers. 78% plan to utilize BOPIS.
- Excessive wait times for curbside and BOPIS continue to frustrate shoppers. Consumers ranked excessive wait times as what they dislike most about curbside (44%) and BOPIS (43%).
- Self-service preferred over staff assistance. 6 in 10 consumers favor self-service over assistance from store staff. Of those, 73% prefer it because it’s fast and easy while 27% prefer it because they don’t want to interact with staff.
- COVID is still on the mind of shoppers. Nearly 4 in 10 state that COVID will impact their shopping habits this holiday season.
- Retailer apps remain a go-to for holiday shoppers. Three-quarters plan to do at least half of their shopping on mobile apps.
- Consumers plan to do at least as much, if not more holiday shopping on mobile apps. 8 in 10 plan to shop on mobile apps the same amount or more this year compared to last year.
- Consumers turn to mobile apps because it’s fast and easy. The top reasons consumers plan to shop on mobile apps this holiday season include fast and easy (55%), to look for discounts (38%), can’t find items in store (38%), shop for better prices (36%), and check for in-store or online inventory (27%).
- Social commerce jumps. 41% of consumers are likely or very likely to purchase holiday gifts via social media apps, up from 32% in 2021.
- Social commerce is particularly popular among Gen Z. 56% of Gen Z are likely or very likely to purchase a holiday via social media.
Shopping and Fast Food
- When holiday shoppers break to eat, fast food is favored. When holiday shopping, consumers are most likely to eat at fast food restaurants (43%) followed by fast casual (35%), sit down restaurants (28%), and coffee chains (27%).
- Speed and location determine where holiday shoppers eat. The top reasons consumers choose fast food while holiday shopping include speed (58%), convenient location (43%), and saving money (39%).
The survey was conducted via SurveyMonkey on August 31st – September 1st, 2022 among a national sample of 1,002 Americans aged 18 and older. Additional methodology can be found within the report.