According to the 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends Report commissioned by Celigo, an integration-driven automation company, survey respondents expect a better shopping experience during the 2023 holiday season compared to past years. This seems hopeful during a time when “price-consciousness has become a defining characteristic of consumer behavior.”
As reported by Celigo, “An overwhelming majority of consumers are setting budget limitations on their holiday shopping.” Almost 80% of those surveyed said they plan to spend less than $5,000 this year, while 49% said they’re hoping to spend under $1,000. Even though many shoppers seem “committed to strict financial prudence and responsible budget management, there remains a subset willing to spend moderately on meaningful gifts and experiences.”
It’s crucial for retailers to assess the shifting trends and respond to them accordingly in order to attract and retain shoppers during the peak holiday season. One way they can do this is by offering products that consider different budget preferences and delivering a “seamless shopping experience.”
Businesses can also plan in advance to avoid issues related to stock availability, pricing, and delivery. According to the holiday trends report, “45% of survey respondents indicated that they were most frustrated by increased costs for in-demand products and limited stock.” Additionally, “44% of consumers stated they were unhappy with the frequency of late deliveries for their merchandise during the holidays.”
By assessing current operations and coming up with creative strategies to overcome potential holiday challenges, retailers can ensure their customers have positive experiences and thereby increase loyalty, retention, and customer lifetime value.
Just like Halloween shopping, it seems holiday shopping will begin earlier than ever this year. According to Insider Intelligence, “Half of consumers (50%) expect to start their holiday shopping before the calendar turns to November.”
Celigo’s survey shows similar findings, stating that around half of consumers plan to start shopping as early as September. Also, 26% of consumers said that Cyber Monday won’t have an impact on their gift shopping. “The days of waiting for last-minute deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday appear to be a thing of the past,” the report noted.
Convenience also remains a high priority for holiday shoppers this year. With e-commerce becoming a preference for many U.S. customers, the report states that “online is the #1 channel for holiday shopping with 75% of respondents stating that they will rely on it the most this season.” One reason is that people can “avoid the holiday rush” and the hassle of navigating through crowded stores.
Even though Celigo expects a better holiday season than in previous years, not everyone seems to agree with that prediction.
According to the latest CNBC Supply Chain Survey, this year is “shaping up to be a downbeat holiday spending season.” The survey’s “early read on peak season order activity shows retailers ordering less and expecting the consumer to be on the lookout for discounts and freebies to entice them to buy more.” CNBC also noted that 43% of respondents expect a lower peak season than last year, while 21% predict order levels to be the same.
Even with inflation at its lowest annual rate in over two years, 71% of CNBC’s survey respondents said they are “concerned the consumer will cut back on holiday spending in response to inflation.”
CNN also seems uncertain of how the holiday season will go, likely due to the “web of conflicting signals on the health of the economy.” According to CNN, Coresight Research predicts that 2023 holiday sales for October through December will “be up by just low single digits from a year ago.” This would be a lower increase than 2022, which saw sales rise by 5.3% per the National Retail Federation.
Only time will tell how this year will fare, but retailers need to be prepared. Mark Simon, VP of strategy at Celigo, hopes that the company’s survey data will help businesses gain better insights into what consumers want this holiday season. “Now, they can make the right investments to automate and streamline their e-commerce operations to meet these evolving expectations both now and in the future,” Simon told Business Wire.