February 24, 2024

Amid the high cost of living, “price-consciousness” is the defining factor driving consumer shopping behavior across the world this holiday season.

However, despite budgetary issues, shoppers are still expecting a better shopping experience this year, according to market research firms.

The Christmas season is just around the corner, and businesses are gearing up for the busiest shopping period of the year.

It’s crucial to understand how consumer behavior is evolving and what emerging trends to expect to ensure the delivery of a top-notch shopping experience this season.

Retailwire.com reported an overwhelming majority of consumers are setting budget limitations on their holiday shopping.

However, even though many shoppers plan to spend less this year, “there remains a subset willing to spend moderately on meaningful gifts and experiences,” it said.

“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’,” the report stated.

NielsenIQ, meanwhile, expects consumers to kickstart their holiday preparations earlier.

“Today’s budget-conscious shoppers may not be able to afford to allocate all of their holiday spending to large, last-minute spending. Anticipate the potential of more shoppers starting earlier, pacing their spending throughout the next few months,” the international market research company said.

A survey by Google revealed “as of mid-October, holiday shoppers globally had on average 21 percent of their holiday shopping complete.”

Professional business service provider PwC, for its part, noted  despite lingering concerns about inflation, it foresees that almost 80 percent of consumers will spend the same as or more than they did last year.

“Consumers did tell us they have been pulling back on discretionary spending: eating out, shopping for clothes, going to movies and concerts. Some are switching to non-branded products. More than in other years, they are looking for deals and discounts as they spread holiday cheer,” it added.

Consumers want a break from rising prices, said PwC.

“They also want the warm buzz of a holiday shopping experience. Navigating that balance allows brands to stay competitive.”

Professional services firm Deloitte predicts: “We will see price-sensitive consumers, even though they will likely spend more this holiday season. After two years of inflation, perception is the rule. So, price (driven) messaging will be necessary.”

Another major trend is that the popularity of online holiday sales will continue to grow, a prediction by consumer credit reporting company Experian.

“By shopping online, consumers can save time since they don’t need to wait in checkout lines,” it said.

Thus, companies “should be prepared to grab attention early and adopt an ‘always on’ marketing approach,” advised e-commerce platform bigcommerce.com.

But this does not detract from the attractiveness of physical stores. After three years of shopping online in light of Covid-19, customers are also ready for in-store shopping in a big way, said KORTX, a digital marketing and data services company.

KORTX recommends focusing digital efforts on both online sales and brick-and-mortar visits and embracing an omnichannel strategy that seamlessly bridges the gap between online and offline channels.

According to the 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends Report from technology provider Celigo, 69 percent of shoppers expect retailers to provide more personalized offers in addition to good deals and cost savings this year.

This entails rewarding loyal customers with exclusive discounts, early access to sales, or loyalty points that can be redeemed during the holiday season in order to encourage repeat purchases and help build long-term relationships. – Press release