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“Silver Bullet” to Reach Consumers This Holiday Shopping Season Doesn’t Exist

August 9, 2022

Retailers face uphill battle as low consumer confidence levels significantly impact 2022 holiday shopping, travel plans

Consumers are less confident their 2022 holiday plans will come to fruition compared to a year ago, according to a new study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm. Based on the most recent data, only 42% of consumers feel confident they’ll achieve their holiday shopping and travel plans (down 24 percentage points from 2021) and 49% of consumers are uncertain if their plans will be achieved (up 23 percentage points from 2021). These findings are part of Escalent’s latest Consumer Goods & Retail study that provides a sneak peek at the trends that will define the crucial 2022 holiday shopping and travel season.

Interest in holiday shopping, traveling and gatherings are all down compared to a year ago, despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. While last year’s data indicated waning consumer interest at the opposite ends of the generational spectrum, namely Generation Z and Baby Boomers, the 2022 data show that millennials and Gen X have joined the other generations in their general despair and lack of enthusiasm for holiday shopping, travel and planning, as well as gatherings across the board.

“Two plus years of pandemic living and negative social and economic issues, have taken the joy of shopping away from many consumers,” said Greg Mishkin, vice president of the Consumer Goods & Retail and Telecom divisions at Escalent. “This holiday season, businesses need to find ways to enhance the joy, improve the overall experience and minimize customers’ stresses.”

Understanding what challenges consumers are facing is the first step to putting a strategy in place to engage with your customers. Escalent asked how inflation, the economy/supply chain issues and COVID-19 are impacting holiday shopping and holiday travel plans:

  • 32% expect to spend less this holiday season, while only 16% see themselves spending more than in 2021.
  • Supply chain issues are expected to continue to impact consumers and retailers through the holiday season.
  • 31% of consumers will be looking for different types of gifts compared to what they normally buy.
  • While 44% expect to travel by car this holiday season, almost half (47%) are concerned about gas prices and expect it to impact travel plans.
  • 36% of consumers continue to take COVID precautions seriously this holiday season, with the Gen X, Boomers and older generations planning to exercise more caution than younger generations.

“There is no ‘silver bullet’ that can work for all brands—businesses need to work harder than ever to understand their customers’ unique needs to craft solutions to bring back their joy,” said Mishkin. “Some brands are upping their creativity by using retailtainment (fusing retail and entertainment) as an opportunity to connect and reconnect with their customers—encouraging buyers to step away from their stressors and create positive, memorable shopping experiences.”

To learn more about this study contact us for more information.

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About the Holiday Shopping and Travel Study

Escalent interviewed 981 online respondents between May 17–23, 2022. The study was sampled within the United States and consisted of a general population audience of men and women ages 18-plus, with balanced representation across regions. To qualify, respondents had to be at least a partial decision-maker in winter holiday shopping and travel. The data have a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a confidence level of 95%. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request. Escalent often conducts secondary research to inform published white papers and research reports. Any publicly available data and sources are cited therein.