How Consumers Are Tackling the 2022 Holiday Shopping Season
Consumers and retailers alike are prepping for the holiday season. And this holiday season, retailers need to stay nimble and adjust to shoppers’ evolving preferences, especially as concerns around inflation continue.
Whether it's hunting more for deals, doing more of their shopping from the convenience of their phone, or focusing on gifts for themselves, consumers’ shopping behaviors are going to be different from previous years. To understand these changes, LTK, the creator-guided shopping app and influencer marketing platform, conducted a survey of U.S. consumers about their holiday shopping plans. Here are some of the key findings from the survey that retailers need to know about this holiday season.
Shopper Savings and Starting Early
Holiday shopping is filled with sales, deals, promotions and more. It’s no secret that shoppers are always looking for ways to save when buying gifts. However, according to LTK’s study, shoppers this year are hunting for even more sales than in previous years, especially as rising costs impact spending. To help them save money, nearly three out of four holiday shoppers said they're looking for more deals and sales vs. last year.
And we’ve seen major retailers kick off sales earlier than ever — that’s because almost half (47 percent) of shoppers planned to start buying their gifts between September and mid-October to get a jump-start on the holiday season. To help shoppers this holiday season, brands and retailers need to make it seamless for their customers to find the best deals earlier than ever before.
Where and How They Plan to Shop
Unsurprisingly, the majority of shoppers (96 percent) plan to buy gifts online, with over half (53 percent) saying they’ll do the majority of their shopping online. And mobile is a growing option for holiday shopping as 86 percent of consumers plan to shop from their phones, and nearly half of millennials plan to do the majority of their shopping on their phones. Brands and retailers should ensure their mobile and online user experiences are seamless to ensure shoppers can get from “Add to Cart” to checkout quickly and easily.
Creator Guidance and Social Media
Today's shoppers are turning to creators and influencers more than ever to help guide their purchase decisions. In fact, creators are now four times more influential to consumers than celebrity posts and also ranked above social ads. Instead of digging through all the sales and deals themselves, shoppers are looking for creators to not only inspire them, but help with honest recommendations that will save them money this holiday season.
Creators and social media are more impactful than ever before. In fact, 72 percent of consumers say their shopping originates from social media. That percentage is even higher for millennials (81 percent) and Gen Z (83 percent). And according to LTK data, people purchased more of their gifts through LTK creators than any other year. Therefore, retailers need to ensure their social media and creator strategies are aligned if they want to better connect with shoppers and inspire purchase confidence.
What Shoppers Want
As consumers look for convenient ways to save time and money this holiday shopping season, there are certain gift categories at the top of their lists. Clothing and accessories (26 percent) rank at the top, above candy/food/gift baskets (24 percent), toys (23 percent) and electronics (21 percent)*.
And shoppers are making a shift to focus on self-care and their homes after a stressful year, with 61 percent of consumers anticipating spending more or the same on shopping for themselves and their homes for the holidays.
When it comes to what shoppers are buying for themselves, beauty and personal care items (32 percent) top the list. Similarly, shoppers are getting their homes holiday-ready, with candles, decor and electronics all high on their lists. Brands looking to drive conversion this holiday season can look beyond traditional gifting categories to help meet shoppers’ self-care and home needs.
As consumers prepare for the holiday season, it’s clear that this year is going to be unique. By focusing on addressing consumers’ evolving holiday shopping preferences, brands can provide a better experience that helps shoppers save time and money during a unique holiday season.
Rodney Mason is the head of marketing, brand partnerships at LTK, the creator-guided shopping platform.
Related story: Holiday Shopping Habits Unwrapped: What’s Impacting Consumer Spending?
Rodney is Head of Marketing, Brand Partnerships at LTK. He has over 20 years in retail marketing and research as a founding principal in global ad and marketing strategy agencies servicing top retail brands and products. He also founded a CPG company sold through retail channels and served as CMO and head of strategy in three consumer incentive companies servicing the retail industry.