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Survey: Supply chain delays don’t prompt holiday shoppers

Many consumers are not in a rush to shop for the holidays.

Despite some consumers expressing concern over supply chain issues, many have not made any special effort to begin holiday shopping.

According to a new Oracle Retail survey, consumers have mostly not completed much of their holiday shopping. When asked how much of their holiday shopping is complete, 30% of surveyed U.S. consumers said none to very little. Another 35% have completed one-quarter or less of their holiday shopping. Thirteen percent are half done, 9% are three-quarters done, and 5% have finished their holiday shopping. Seven percent of respondents don't plan to shop for the holidays this year.

Up to as many as roughly one in five respondents cited specific supply chain issues that are having an impact on their 2021 holiday shopping experience. When asked how their experiences have been shopping online and in-store so far this season, 18% of respondents said supply chain issues are causing higher prices, and 16% said supply chain issues are causing items to be out of stock and hard to find.

Fifteen percent of respondents said store aisles don't seem as full as normal this time of year, while 9% said they have already had deliveries that are delayed. In addition, 12% of respondents said stores are understaffed.

Respondents are also concerned about supply chain and climate issues when it comes to Christmas trees. More than one in five (22%) respondents are worried trees will be harder to find and more expensive, with this number jumping to 27% in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has been hit hard by drought and fires.

When asked what they would do to get early or enhanced access to holiday deals, 39% of respondents, including 42% of Gen Z respondents, said they would shop in-person for in-store only deals. Thirty-five percent of respondents, including 46% of millennial respondents, said they would purchase an annual membership like Amazon Prime. Nineteen percent of respondents, including 37% of Gen Z respondents, would stand in line for Black Friday or other store shopping holidays.

A recent survey of roughly 1,000 U.S. adult consumers from cross-channel marketing platform Cordial also indicated a significant disconnect between consumer concerns over supply chain issues and early holiday shopping decisions. While more than 70% of respondents were concerned that online orders won't arrive in time for the holidays, 41% had not started any shopping at the time of the survey (Nov. 5-7, 2021), with just 20% having done "most" or "all" of their seasonal purchasing.

"The latest numbers continue to highlight the unpredictability of consumers during these interesting times," said Mike Webster, senior VP and GM of Oracle Retail. "Despite supply chain concerns, many people have a long way to go in their holiday shopping. Retailers need to be prepared for the surge over the next month and carefully manage inventory and expectations with great transparency and communications to keep customers happy and coming back."

The survey of 2,085 U.S. consumers in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco was conducted by Untold Insights Nov. 11-16, 2021. Respondents were asked to reflect on their travel plans for Thanksgiving. Respondents were classified by generation as Gen Z (18-24); millennials (25-39); Gen X (40-54); and baby boomers (55-plus).

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