Momentive study: U.S. holiday shopping update

EXPERIENCES

Momentive study: U.S. holiday shopping update

Holiday shoppers brace for rising costs and supply chain issues as they plan to spend less money, start shopping later compared with 2021.

Zoe Padgett

October 14, 2022 | 4 min read

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Key findings:

  • Despite widespread worry about supply chain issues (55% very/somewhat worried), U.S. consumers plan to start their holiday shopping later this year than in 2021
  • More consumers plan to spend less money this holiday season than last year, with rising costs of food (64%), energy (49%), and housing (39%) to blame
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of parents plan to go into debt this holiday season; their top shopping categories are clothing, toys & games, home goods, and technology
  • Gen Z is eager to get back into stores, with nearly one-third (31%) planning to shop more in-person than online this holiday season

Consumers plan to spend less this holiday season as they brace against rising costs

A majority of U.S. adults are somewhat or very worried about being able to purchase the items they want for the upcoming holiday season (66%). Worries about supply chain issues affecting holiday shopping (55% are somewhat or very worried) are up from last year (45%). In general, 91% of U.S. adults are somewhat or very concerned about inflation, and 17% of consumers do not plan to do any holiday shopping, up from 14% in 2021. Despite these trends, shopping has not started earlier this year. In fact, fewer have started their holiday shopping as-of early October (17% compared with 22% in 2021), and more plan to start between Thanksgiving and early December (27% compared with 21% in 2021). 

H1-2022-Momentive-Blog-Charts-ZP-15

About half of consumers plan to spend less money this holiday season than last year, despite increasing prices. This year, 51% plan to spend $500 or less (5 percentage points higher than last year) and 37% plan to spend more than $500 (6 percentage points lower than last year). About two-thirds cite rising food prices as a main reason for spending less this year. Rising energy prices (49%), fear of a potential recession (44%), and rising housing costs are also major contributors (39%).

Lower-income consumers struggle to afford holiday purchases

H1-2022-Momentive-Blog-Charts-ZP-16

Lower-income consumers—those who have a household income under $50,000—are the most worried about being able to afford their holiday purchases. Three-quarters of lower-income consumers are somewhat or very worried about being able to purchase the items they want this holiday season (76%), compared with 65% of middle-income consumers (those who make between $50,000 and $99,999) and 50% of high-income consumers (those making $100,000+). Most lower-income consumers are dealing with inflation by planning to spend less (63%) than usual, while middle- and high-income consumers are more likely to spend about the same as usual (35% and 44%, respectively). Some lower-income consumers plan to spend more than last year (12%), perhaps acknowledging the rising costs of goods.

Additionally, 21% of lower-income consumers are preparing to go into debt for their holiday shopping this year, compared with 15% of middle-income consumers and just 8% of high-income consumers. “Buy now, pay later” options (such as Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay) are especially popular with lower-income consumers this year, with 39% planning to use those options for some or all of their holiday shopping; one-quarter (25%) of middle-income consumers and just 16% of high-income consumers plan to use these options.

Some parents plan to go into debt as they shop for clothing and toys

H1-2022-Momentive-Blog-Charts-ZP-17

Another group taking a big financial hit this holiday season: parents. Three-quarters (75%) of parents with children under the age of 18 are somewhat or very concerned about being able to purchase the items they want (versus 61% of non-parents), and 24% plan to go into debt to afford their holiday purchases (versus 11% of non-parents). Parents are also more likely than those without children under 18 to use “buy now, pay later” options (38% vs. 26%).

H1-2022-Momentive-Blog-Charts-ZP-18

Parents plan to shop primarily for clothing (61%) and games and toys (58%). Clothing is the top category for holiday shopping across almost all ages and genders this year; the notable exception is women 65 and up, who plan to purchase gift cards at a higher rate (41%). While games and toys are second-most popular with men and women ages 35-64, younger women prefer to purchase home goods. 

Subscriptions as gifts interest younger consumers, but so does in-person shopping

H1-2022-Momentive-Blog-Charts-ZP-19

Subscriptions such as Audible, StitchFix, and HelloFresh are a relatively new entry into the holiday shopping market. Younger consumers, particularly in Gen Z, are more likely to purchase subscriptions as gifts (27% somewhat/very likely), compared with Millennials (18%), Gen X (9%), and Boomers (5%). In a surprising shift, Gen Z is also more likely to shop in-person than the older generations, with one-third (31%) planning to shop more in-person than online (compared with 21-22% of Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers). 

Read more about our polling methodology here

Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below:

SEE SIMILAR STORIES IN ...

Read more articles by Momentive

Stay up to date on the trends that are reshaping industries, the innovations that are bringing humanity and technology closer together, and more.

EXPERIENCES

Momentive study: credit card users weigh costs and perks

The most important credit card features include cash back, annual fees, and APR, while perks like exclusive event access and TSA precheck fall behind

Nov 18 • 4 min read

Read more

EXPERIENCES

Momentive study: credit unions win on lower fees and better interest rates

Credit unions deliver on lower fees and better interest rates, online access

Nov 4 • 4 min read

Read more