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Oracle: Holiday shoppers will spend more, return less

Six in 10 consumers plan to spend the same or more on the holidays as they did in 2019, and the percentage planning to make returns has dropped by half.

According to a new survey of more than 5,000 global shoppers from Oracle Retail, 58% of respondents expect to spend the same or more on holiday shopping than they did in 2019. Compounding this positive trend is a significant year-over-year drop in consumers planning to make at least one return, to 38% from 77%. 

Nearly 20% of respondents plan to do most of their shopping in-store, with 47% planning to split purchases between online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Two-thirds of respondents prefer home delivery for online purchases, while 18% will make BOPIS purchases and another 16% plan to place curbside pickup orders. 

About four in 10 (39%) respondents plan to spend more on apparel and necessities, while 29% plan to spend more on electronics, 27% on gift cards, 19% on sporting goods/hobbies, and 15% on luxury items (handbags, fashion, and jewelry).

The survey also found that 48% of respondents had discovered new brands on social media. Of those respondents, 65% discovered a new brand via Facebook, 53% via Instagram, 49% via YouTube, and 29% via TikTok.

Looking at delivery trends, 73% of respondents said real-time updates on item location throughout the delivery process is important. Fifty-five percent cited a great price, 49% special offers or discounts (such as buy one, get one free), and 25% immediate availability and fast shipping time.

Other notable responses included:

•    47% of respondents said out-of-stock merchandise topped their list for a bad shopping experience;
•    63% said they weren’t willing to wait for an item to be back in stock before trying another brand;
•    18% of shoppers felt safest in an indoor mall, 24% in outdoor shopping venues, and 58% were fine with either with the proper safety precautions;
•    79% said it was important to see staff and other customers wearing masks;
•    82% said it was important to see visible cleaning efforts;
•    66% of shoppers noted contactless checkout was important;
•    76% noted reduced occupancy levels in stores as key; and,
•    39% said a lack of social distancing would cause them to have a bad shopping experience.

The survey polled 5,143 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, China, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, France, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates in September 2020.

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