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Survey: Consumers ready to celebrate Labor Day

woman with shopping bags
Most consumers will spend for the end-of-summer Labor Day holiday.

The end of the summer may not be such a sad occasion for retailers.

According to the  2022 Labor Day Weekend Consumer Survey Report from market research data and technology company Numerator, expected impacts from inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer Labor Day spending are on the decline. Half (51%) of surveyed consumers expect inflation to impact their Labor Day plans, down from 62% that expected inflation to affect their Memorial Day weekend plans.

Fewer than one in five respondents (18%) expect a COVID-19 impact on their Labor Day plans, following a steady decline in concern throughout 2022. Almost nine in 10 (88%) respondents expect to make their purchases in-person, with grocery stores (68%), mass retailers (45%), and warehouse club retailers (33%) representing the top shopping destinations. Fewer than one in five (17%) respondents expect to shop online for Labor Day purchases.

Almost all (94%) respondents expect to make purchases for their Labor Day celebrations, most of which are food-oriented. These include meat / seafood (58% of respondents), snacks (54%), fruits / vegetables (48%), side dishes (44%), and alcoholic beverages (43%) top the list of planned food-related purchases. 

Among non-food planned purchases, more than one-quarter (26%) of respondents plan to buy grilling materials, 8% plan to buy holiday decorations, and 6% plan to buy sporting goods or outdoor games. 

Looking at how consumers will celebrate, the survey finds that 61% of respondents plan to grill or barbecue, while 53% plan to gather with family and friends. Gen Z respondents are most likely to go out for food / drinks (37%), travel (26%), or attend / host a party (26%) compared to other generations, while boomers and older generations are the most likely to gather with family and friends (58%), with Gen X the most likely to grill out (63%).

Nearly one-third of respondents (32%) say rising gas prices will force them to travel less, and another 22% will not travel at all for Labor Day 2022 as a result. 

The survey also asked respondents about their plans to shop Labor Day sale events. Findings include:

  • More than one-third (34%) of respondents say they plan to shop deals over the long weekend, and another 52% say they might participate.  
  • While a slight majority (51%) of respondents planning to shop Labor Day deals expect to buy grocery items, 25% say they will buy apparel/shoes and 24% will buy household essentials.
  • Specific ways respondents planning to shop Labor Day sale events intend to reduce their spending include comparing prices (45%), stocking up on sale items (31%), not purchasing non-necessities (29%), and waiting to purchase a specific product at a lower price (18%).

Numerator’s 2022 Labor Day survey was fielded Aug. 4-6, 2022, to 1,054 respondents. 

Back-to-school shoppers hit stores

Labor Day shopping is occurring concurrently with back-to-school shopping, and a recent survey indicates back-to-school consumers are also turning to physical stores. According to the new Sensormatic Solutions 2022 Back-to-School Shopper Sentiment Survey, over three-quarters (76%) of respondents shared that they plan to do their shopping in stores this year. The survey also indicates that most of the season’s in-store shopping will have taken place from the end of July into Labor Day weekend.

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