Shopping Trends Influencing this Holiday Season
Consumers are feeling the impact of high inflation and this financial pressure on households will influence the 2022 holiday shopping season. While consumers will continue to spend money on purchasing gifts, it is predicted that shoppers will make purposeful purchasing decisions that live up to their financial goals and personal values.
Holiday Shopping Trends Merchants Need to Know
As businesses embrace the 2022 holiday shopping season, understanding changing customer trends and demands is vital. Here are four holiday shopping trends and how they will affect retailers this season.
1. Tighter Wallets Means Less Spending
Tough economic times mean shoppers won’t be spending as much this holiday season. In the U.S., holiday gift spending is expected to drop by $30 billion as 58% of consumers cut back on non-food spending during the holidays. However, despite these less-than-stellar predictions, many retailers are still optimistic that customers will be back and ready to shop!
Merchants need to be flexible to change their approach to match customers’ needs. This year is about providing a great experience and making everyday items special. Merchants should focus on creating an experience around the product, not necessarily the product itself.
2. Holiday Season Starts Earlier
To spread the financial strain across more paychecks, customers are starting their holiday shopping earlier in 2022. Many retailers, faced with record stockpiles of inventory and cautious shoppers, are slashing prices to get rid of merchandise, and have begun pushing early sales. For example, Amazon launched a second Prime Day, and stores like Target and Walmart followed suit with early fall holiday savings.
Merchants need to be understanding and empathetic during the drawn-out holiday season, so they don’t overwhelm customers. That means personalized service and experiences to make customers’ lives easier, no matter if they shop in October or late December.
3. Online Sales Increase
Online sales are expected to reign supreme in 2022, with a 2.5% growth prediction in e-commerce sales from November 1-December 31.
Creating an intuitive, convenient, and personal online and mobile experience is crucial for merchants this year. Even for in-person purchases, customers start their research online, which means the customer experience starts when they first search for a brand online. The online experience, including a customer’s initial search results and reviews, have never been more important.
4. Customers Prefer Human Touch
Many merchants look to scale customer service during the busy holiday season with chatbots and other technology, but customers want humans. When given the choice of how to communicate with a retailer, a recent survey found most customers chose speaking to a live agent, followed closely by online chatting with a live agent. Technology is still important in 2022 but is only part of the solution. Human interaction still sets brands apart.
For merchants, delivering a great customer experience during the busy holiday season means balancing technology and human interaction while preparing with appropriate staffing and resources to serve customers. Understanding shoppers, establishing, and strengthening a customer-centric mindset, and preparing early can set a business up for success.
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