Holiday shoppers have learned to love the ease and convenience of online shopping, but they’re craving a little extra TLC from personalized experiences in stores.  The way consumers browse, shop and buy holiday gifts may be changed forever by six shopping behaviors learned during the pandemic. 



Gift Discovery

Half of all holiday shoppers find it difficult to know what to buy for others. Most consumers now discover gift ideas using smartphones to check social media, while simultaneously watching shows on a streaming service. Holiday shoppers’ main sources for gift discovery are:


  • Social media
  • Search engines
  • Ads on streaming services
  • Ads on traditional TV
  • Browsing online retail sites
  • Browsing in stores


Source: Kantar, Jungle Scout, Adweek


Shopping Timelines

Online searches for holiday decor and gift ideas began to surge in April, and usually peak in September. Many consumers are planning to buy gifts earlier because of concerns about product availability and delivery delays. 55% of holiday shoppers plan to start buying gifts before Thanksgiving:


  • 31% to start before the end of October
  • 24% to start in November, before Thanksgiving
  • 27% to start in November, after Thanksgiving
  • 10% to start in December
  • 7% will wait until January


Source: Etsy Marketing Insights, Jungle Scout, Pinterest Predictions


Shopping Plans

Most consumers are ready for personalized shopping experiences and a little TLC in-stores, and also like the ease and convenience of shopping from anywhere, online. 3 out of 4 consumers plan to browse for gifts online and in stores:


  • 48% plan to buy gifts in stores
  • 53% plan to buy gifts online
  • 12% of online shoppers like curbside pick up


Source: Retail Leader, Boston Consulting Group and Google


Purchasing Decisions

Online searches are surging for personalized or customized gifts, and more holiday shoppers want their gifts to have a personal touch, like a card with the recipient’s name and gift wrapping. Most consumers shop in stores for the experience, and gifts they want to see in person before buying:


  • Jewelry
  • Handbags and Accessories
  • Apparel
  • Footwear
  • Furniture
  • Major Appliances
  • Mattresses

Shoppers tend to buy familiar items online, and go to a store if they need gifts faster:


  • Food & Beverages
  • Beauty & Personal Care
  • Pet Products
  • Health & Wellness Items
  • Small Appliances
  • Home Improvement
  • Auto Parts

Source: Boston Consulting Group and Google


Holiday Spending

Surveys indicate men plan to spend twice as much on gifts as women, and Millennials and parents of young children expect to spend more than they did in 2020. Gen Z made it a priority to set aside savings for holiday gifts, and self-gifting is trending among younger consumers as a form of self-care. Boomers and Gen X plan to spend about the same amount on gifts this year. Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend the Most on Gifts For:


  • Significant others: Men-$213 Women-$118
  • Themselves: Men-$120 Women- $61
  • Pets and Coworkers: $44


Source: Jungle Scout


Payment Methods

As a part of social distancing, consumers across every age group learned to use contactless digital payment methods, and they are gaining more traction. Over half of holiday shoppers use digital banking tools and four payment trends are gaining traction:


  1. Deferred payments, or Buy Now-Pay- Later
  2. Digital payments like tap to pay and mobile wallets
  3. Online payment systems
  4. Peer-to-peer payment apps


Source: Payments Dive and JP Morgan


Consumer Research Provides Strategic Insights about Shopping Behavior

Consumer research can help you understand your customers’ unique holiday  shopping journey, and how Covid-19 is changing lifestyles, values and consumer behavior.  Qualitativequantitative and quick turn research solutions deliver actionable and strategic consumer insights to innovate and optimize the customer experience, messaging and marketing mix.


How Can We Help You?

As a top ranked consumer research firm, our team at Insights In Marketing empowers our clients to make decisions inspired by the consumer voice. We have decades of client and supplier side research experience, and proven online methodologies to gather actionable insights from consumers either virtually, or from a safe location meeting CDC health and safety standards. Insights In Marketing is the market research firm that delivers in-depth and actionable insights so you can have every confidence your decisions are inspired by the consumer voice. Our team has decades of client and supplier side research experience, and our marketing expertise spans across various industries and consumer segments.


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