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How do holiday shoppers find purchase inspiration?

christmas shopping
Influencers and deals will affect holiday purchase decisions.

Influencers, in-store displays and deals will have a big impact on shoppers' holiday purchase decisions.

Nearly all (96%) shoppers are heavily focused on finding holiday inspiration in October and November, and 70%  are drawn to deal sites for holiday inspiration and gift-giving ideas, according to the survey of 1,000 adult U.S. consumers from RetailMeNot.

Respondents stated that their top three inspirational holiday purchase sources are:

  • Friends and family: 55%
  • In-store displays: 46%
  • Retail sites and apps: 45%

In addition, half of respondents say they have added an item to their shopping plans due to an influencer recommendation, and 44% say they will purchase a product endorsed by an influencer during the 2023 holiday season.

The survey also indicates that deal sites will have a large effect on holiday purchases, as 85% of respondents say they are willing to try new brands or products with an “irresistible “deal. In addition:

  • Seven in 10 (69%) respondents are more likely to make a purchase if there is a cash back offer.
  • More than eight in 10 (82%) respondents search for savings opportunities before making a purchase.
  • Two in three respondents compare prices between at least two retailers before making a purchase.
  • Two in three respondents complete a purchase once they have secured a deal/offer.
  • One-third of respondents utilize aggregator sites and apps during their holiday purchase research.

[Read more: Shoppers plan to hunt for deals this holiday season]

Holiday shoppers get an early start

In total, 83% of respondents plan to get started on their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving in 2023:

  • August or earlier: 15%
  • September: 20%
  • October: 29%
  • November (before Thanksgiving): 19%
  • November (Black Friday and on): 13%
  • December: 5%

Top reasonings for early spending include:

  • To spread out their budget/space out purchases: 60%
  • To make sure everything arrives on time: 51%
  • To avoid items being sold out: 45%

Price tops stress sources

The top holiday shopping stressors for 2023 include:

  • Increasing prices: 52%
  • Large crowds in stores: 48%
  • Fitting everything into my budget: 46%
  • Products being out of stock: 41%
  • Not knowing what to buy: 36%
  • Delivery delays/getting everything in time for the holidays: 33%
  • Finding the best deals: 31%
  • Uncertainty about my economic situation: 31%
  • Not knowing if products will be good quality: 21%
  • Finding the time to shop: 20%
  • Returning unwanted items: 16%
  • Oversaturated/too-early holiday advertising: 15%

Top fall and winter shopping occasions

Which fall and winter occasions are people shopping for? The survey shows:

  • Christmas: 90%
  • Thanksgiving: 70%
  • Halloween: 59%
  • Cold weather purchases: 43%
  • Self-gifts: 39%
  • New Year’s Eve: 35%
  • Fall and winter decor: 35%
  • Holiday party outfits and accessories: 25%
  • Fall sporting events: 16%

Ziff Davis conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults (18-plus) who are retail shoppers on behalf of RetailMeNot in July 2023.

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