Deloitte Survey: Consumers shift spending habits

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NEW YORK — Inflation is prompting consumers to change their holiday spending plans, according to Deloitte’s 37th annual Holiday Retail Survey, which finds that overall shoppers are expected to keep spending flat year-over-year for an average of $1,455 per household, while purchasing fewer gifts for family and friends.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • Inflation continues to impact the holiday season: As inflation keeps spending flat, it’s both the reason consumers will spend more (51%) and less (66%) this season. To maximize budgets, shoppers will purchase fewer gifts in 2022 (nine gifts vs. 16 last year). However, retail executives are more optimistic: 77% expect holiday sales to increase year-over-year.
  • Consumers find ways to spread holiday cheer: To keep the holidays festive, consumers will pull back on non-gift purchases (down 12% year-over-year) and shift spending to experiences (up 7% year-over year). Further, gift cards are becoming the go-to gift, prompting an average spend of $252 this year, up 7% from 2021.
  • Gifts look a bit different this year: Resale items are also a way for shoppers to cut costs, with 32% of consumers planning to buy resale items. Further, nearly half (48%) of retail executives will sell refurbished or used goods to keep up with demand.
  • ‘Tis the season for early birds: The holiday shopping season continues to pull forward, with 23% of holiday budgets spent by the end of October, compared to 18% in 2021. Consumers also will spend an average of 5.8 weeks shopping (compared to 6.4 weeks last year). Meanwhile, 60% of retailers are also planning to start their holiday promotions at least one to two weeks earlier than last year.
  • It’s a mixed bag when it comes to stockouts. While 77% of consumers expect stockouts this season, retail executives are more optimistic. More than half (60%) are comfortable with the volume of holiday merchandise ordered, and all surveyed (100%) anticipate receiving their holiday inventory on time — versus 57% who reported the same in 2021.
  • Online shopping continues to shine: The share of in-store spending is expected to rise to 35% in 2022, a return to 2019 levels. However, online continues to be a holiday shopping mainstay, holding steady with a 63% share, as smartphone use for holiday shopping steadily rises to 56%.

Deloitte surveyed 4,986 U.S. consumers to determine what can be expected as they tackle holiday shopping amid a worsening economic outlook. For additional perspective, Deloitte also polled 40 retail executives across categories, 93% of which have annual revenues of $1 billion or more.


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