Survey: Holiday shoppers to start early, look for sales; shop in-store

More shoppers are planning to shop in-store this holiday season.

Shoppers are returning to stores this holiday season — and they are also shopping earlier than ever as they prioritize sales and promotions.

Those are among the findings of Sensormatic Solutions’ third annual “U.S. Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey.” More than half (52%) of respondents indicated they had already started shopping for gifts or planned to start before November. The survey also found that more shoppers are planning to shop in-store this year than during the past two holiday seasons. 

The vast majority of shoppers indicated price and promotions will guide their shopping this season. More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents cited price as one of the top three reasons they might choose to shop in-store this year. Other top responses included:

  • Product availability (73%).
  • Safe and comfortable stores (42%).
  • Checkout speed (41%).

Interestingly, the four factors occupied the top spots for all respondents, regardless of salary range.

“These results echo what we saw in our predictions for the top busiest shopping days,’ said Brian Field, global leader of retail consulting and analytics for Sensormatic Solutions, which is part of Johnson Controls. “We predict consumers will be more proactive during this year’s shopping season, and now’s the time for retailers to prepare. With this year’s holiday shopping schedule spreading out over several months, data-driven insights will be crucial to store success. Retailers who take steps to implement technology now are likely to find themselves at an advantage come November and December.”

Although 36% of respondents are planning their early shopping around concerns for shipping delays, the main motivator for when they’ll start shopping ahead of the holidays is financial.

 Over half (57%) of respondents said finances will play a role in when they begin their holiday purchasing, up 14% from 2021, and 42% said the timing of promotions will affect their schedules as well.

While 51% of consumers are planning to shop in-store for at least some of their items this year, many will continue to use alternative shopping and fulfillment methods. Thirty-five percent will use “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) options, and 30% intend to use curbside pickup.

The top reason for using alternate pickup methods was convenience, with 64% of respondents noting ease as a primary motivator. Those who are planning to get items delivered to their doors this year said it was because shipping to their home was more convenient (56%).

Thirty-three percent of shoppers cited health and safety as a reason to use alternative fulfillment methods, down from 38% last year.

“A combination of traditional brick-and-mortar visits and alternative shopping methods are helping consumers complete their holiday wish lists as factors like price, product availability, and convenience are at the top of everyone’s minds,” said Kim Melvin, global leader of marketing, Sensormatic Solutions.

Sensormatic Solutions collected responses from 1,000 U.S.-based consumers, 18-years and older, via a third-party provider to determine findings of its 2022 U.S. Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey. The survey was conducted between August 16 - August 18, 2022.

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