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Study: Online shopping to hold steady this holiday season

online holiday shopper
Online sales so far this year are up more than 7% versus 2022.

Despite conflicting economic indicators, 80% of consumers say they’ll buy online more or the same as last year this holiday season.

That’s according to a study from global shipping and mailing company Pitney Bowes Inc. in which 48% of consumers said they plan to spend the same amount, and only 20% plan to spend less — figures which are consistent with last year’s findings. In addition, 32% said they plan to shop online more than last year.

Among the 20% of consumers planning to spend less online, slightly more than half are cutting back on overall (i.e., non-holiday) spending —  a significant reduction from the 71% who expected to be cutting back last year. 

“While U.S. consumers grapple with economic challenges including the lingering impacts of inflation, their discretionary spending — particularly online — appears to defy gravity headed into the holidays,” said Vijay Ramachandran, VP of GTM (Go-to-Market) Enablement + Experience at Pitney Bowes. “Online sales so far this year are up more than 7% versus 2022, even though online prices have been on a deflationary trend for more than a year.”

Ramachandran noted that rather than curtail overall spending, consumers are ‘trading down’ to lower-priced brands and lower-value product categories as they seek to make their budgets go farther in reaction to perceived inflation.

“We know from consulting with our clients that mid-price apparel, as well as accessories and beauty brands, are optimistic about the holiday season, while sporting goods and home décor brands are approaching peak more cautiously,” he added.

Additional findings from Pitney Bowes’ latest BOXpoll survey are below.

•Thirty-nine percent of consumers said they noticed it has become harder to qualify for free shipping. And 42% already expect it will become harder to qualify for free shipping this holiday season compared to last year.

•Consumers are most likely to either add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping (44%) or try to find the same item with a different online brand that will offer free shipping (37%).

The BOXpoll consumer survey by Pitney Bowes is a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture and ecommerce logistics. Morning Consult conducts weekly polls on behalf of Pitney Bowes among a national sample of more than 2,000 online shoppers.


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