What will have the biggest impact on consumer holiday shopping?

Brand loyalty is out, retail loyalty is in — if there’s a deal.

It’s not just you, the holiday shopping season is getting longer — particularly this year. Inflation means the longer you wait the more expensive things get and that is top of mind for U.S. consumers right now. To understand what else is on their mind and how it may impact their buying, we put together a statistical overview. 


Inflation. How rising prices have already affected consumer behavior.

  • 67% reduced spending on “non-essential” items in the last six months (including vacations and holiday shopping). (Digital River)
  • 71% noticed heightened prices in-person over the last six months; 67% noticed rising online prices. (Digital River)
  • 47% of those who noticed higher online prices have reduced online shopping; 35% are increasingly looking for discount codes; 29% are using comparison sites more frequently. (Digital River)
  • 81% adjusted their spending due to inflation (U.S. News and World Report)
  • 40% said buying back-to-school supplies were a significant budgetary concern, up from 30% in 2021. (eMarketer)

Spending expectations. It is likely that total holiday spend will be up this year. However, price increases could mean fewer goods sold.

  • In 2021, Americans spent an average of $ 611.19 on Christmas gifts. This year, they plan to spend slightly less on gifts: $ 575.64. (4Over)
  • 84% worry about the impact of inflation on holiday shopping. (U.S. News and World Report)
  • 59% expect impact to be moderate or significant (Numerator)
  • 51% plan to buy fewer holiday gifts this year (Salesforce)
  • 41% expect to spend more than last year. (4Over)
  • 38% of US adults say they plan to spend less this holiday season, 32% expect to spend the same (Digital River)
  • 15% of U.S. shoppers are unsure if they will buy any gifts this year. (Salesforce)


When will they shop. Consumers may complain about winter holiday marketing done before Halloween, but many start shopping long before that.

  • 37% more in the U.S. plan to start buying gifts earlier (Salesforce)
  • 27% are planning to start holiday shopping soon in case inflation gets worse. (4Over)
  • 22% had already started in August (eMarketer)
  • 17% will start in October, 31% in November, and 13% in December. (4Over)

Purchase motivators. Price, price, price. The biggest impact on decision to buy per CivicScience:

  • 34% deals and promotions 
  • 21% free shipping 
  • 19% product availability


Brand loyalty is out, retail loyalty is in — if there’s a deal. Some 63% of the people say price is more important to them than what brand they choose, according to a Ziff Media Group survey.

  • 61%  joined a loyalty program to receive discounts during 2021 holiday season (Deloitte)
  • 41% of 2021 holiday shoppers downloaded or used retailer app for exclusive deals (InMobi)
  • 41% of 2021 holiday shoppers used loyalty program, discount or points when purchasing gifts (InMobi)
  • 61% say they will do so in 2022 (InMobi)

Why we care. Rising prices and being told there’s a recession right around the corner have consumers particularly skittish. Overall consumer sentiment is trending up, but that last few years has shown quickly that can change. All data that isn’t as fresh as today needs to be thought of as a guideline, not a fixed point. Still, this looks to be a season when price conquers all other considerations.

The post What will have the biggest impact on consumer holiday shopping? appeared first on MarTech.


About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.