How will AI and inflation affect holiday shoppers?

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
holiday shopping bag with gifts
Few holiday shoppers plan to use AI tools.

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools don't figure into consumers' holiday shopping plans. But inflation does.

According to a new survey of nearly 10,000 U.S. consumers from shopping rewards app Shopkick, only 7% of respondents are planning on using AI tools for holiday shopping. 

More than half (52%) of respondents don’t want to use AI to assist them in holiday shopping and 27% don’t know how to use it. In addition, 14% have never heard of the technology and 5% are afraid of it.

Of the 7% that are planning on using AI to shop this holiday season, the majority will use a text generation tool (like ChatGPT) for gift planning/inspiration (57%), meal planning and recipe ideation (46%), and holiday card creation (38%).

Inflation has big impact on holiday shoppers

Shopkick data also shows that inflation is top-of-mind for respondents this holiday season, with 74% tightening holiday budgets and 73% stating rising costs have impacted how they are planning to shop. More than half (53%) will be buying fewer holiday items this year overall, and almost half (47%) of respondents will only be shopping sales or clearance racks. 

[Read more: Survey: Many consumers 'dreading' holiday spending]

Only 10% of respondents will spend more on the holidays in 2023 compared to 2022, while 44% will be spending less. The majority (55%) plan to spend between $100 - $600, which is about the same (54%) as those who planned to spend the same amount in 2022.

Other findings

  • Nine in 10 respondents plan to buy physical holiday gifts.
  • More than eight in 10 (84%) respondents say free shipping and returns are the most important incentive when it comes to holiday shopping. Buy one, get one (BOGO – 55%) and fast shipping (42%) are also critical. 

“Inflation has made an enduring impact on consumer spending, seeing that our data shows 70% of shoppers will be spending less this holiday season due to feeling less financially secure.” said Brittany Billings, executive VP of global marketing at Shopkick parent Trax. “Retailers looking to capture a more conscious consumer with a tightening wallet need to think strategically about how to entice them, through incentives like discounts or bundle pricing and/or varying product assortment such as smaller unit sizes, volume, and count that cost less overall, to meet them where they are in today’s macroeconomic environment."

Shopkick surveyed 9,632 U.S. consumers between Nov. 9-14, 2023 about how they are planning to shop this holiday season.

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