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Sep 28, 2022
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Many consumers to spend less this festive season says Gartner study

Published
Sep 28, 2022

It may not be a merry Christmas for many in global retail as the holiday shopping season looms with a new study showing consumers are planning to spend less than last year. The study from Gartner suggests inflation is the big worry for shoppers in 2022.


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It found that 28% of consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season with only 10% planning to spend more. And for the latter group, the additional spending plans are less about splashing out on extra gifts and more about accepting that prices are higher and they’ll have to spend more to simply stand still.

The researcher spoke to 306 consumers and found that 48% are planning to start shopping 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.”

Given that inflation is front of mind for most consumers, its no surprise that 65% identify price as one of three key factors in their gift decision-making this year. The other two are value (53%) and free shipping (51%). They all boil down to the same thing — shoppers want to get the most of out every dollar, euro, and pound.

The survey also showed that gift cards are the top category this year (perhaps also inspired by the desire not to waste money). The good news is that apparel and accessories come next.

So where will shoppers get their inspiration this year? Some 35% said it’s all about friends’ and family’s wish lists, with 22% citing Google search, 21% friends’ and family’s previous purchases, 18% brand websites, 16% online reviews, 11% brand emails and 10% catalogues. 

It’s interesting that online sources that grab a lot of attention are pretty low down on the list — Instagram, as well as online articles in general and Youtube, score 7% each, Pinterest 6%, Facebook 4%, TikTok and influencers 2% each, and blogs and brand messages 1% each.

As for where consumers will shop, physical stores may have bounced back post-pandemic, but consumers will overwhelmingly shop online during the 2022 holiday season, with 21% planning to shop more online than in-store this year compared to 2021.

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