Consumers Are Changing Up Holiday Shopping Habits

Shoppers plan to spend more this year and shop earlier due to supply chain concerns.

November 10, 2021

Retail Shopper

CHICAGO—Supply chain issues are causing consumers to change their shopping routines this year, according to a TransUnion report. The anticipation of supply chain issues has 33% of consumers shopping earlier this year, with nearly half of respondents (47%) saying they began their holiday shopping in October or earlier this year. This trend was driven more by older generations, with 51% of baby boomers saying they started in October or earlier, while only 36% of Gen Z consumers did so.

Twenty-five percent of respondents are considering alternate gifts, and 14% may make fewer holiday purchases. However, the survey showed a 22% increase in the number of respondents who plan to spend more on holiday shopping—after two consecutive years of decline. This trend was led by Gen Z consumers, 36% of which plan to spend more.

“This year poses a real opportunity for retailers and creditors looking to win over new business,” said Mark Rose, senior director of marketing solutions in TransUnion’s diversified markets business. “Those who can successfully target new audiences and assure them of a strong inventory and on-time, secure delivery will find a receptive audience, as consumers are worried about scarcity and considering alternatives.”

Most respondents (83%) are doing at least half of their shopping online this year. However, among that group, 53% said their biggest concern is the possibility that a merchant may not fulfill their order on time. A Deloitte survey found that 43% of retail executives already expect their ordered holiday inventory to be delayed, and 64% are concerned about receiving inventory in time for the holidays.

Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal expect supply chain bottlenecks and elevated inflation to persist well into next year and continue to threaten the growth of the U.S. economy. Concerns about COVID-19 as a risk to growth, however, have waned.

When asked how their concern with being victimized by online fraud this holiday season compares to last year, 70% of respondents said they have the same level of concern, while 25% said they have more concern this year. Moreover, 50% have a positive view of additional identity validation requirements at checkout, while 45% are neutral, saying the requirements don’t affect shopping habits. However, 15% say not having enough security on a site is their top reason for abandoning their cart.

“What has not changed this year is that consumers have come to expect that online shopping is as safe as it is easy,” said Shannon Wu-Lebron, senior director of retail in TransUnion’s diversified markets business. “Retailers would do well to give consumers a good experience while not being afraid to demonstrate the measures taken to ensure security.”

When using a mobile device to shop online, 70% said auto-fill of personal information and credit information is at least moderately important. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) said device payment technology is at least moderately important, and 79% said use of device security capabilities (e.g. fingerprint readers or facial recognition) are at least moderately important.

NACS Daily looked at a report from TikTok, which found that 72% of consumers find shopping on social media platforms convenient, and 78% of consumers are open to purchasing a product on a social media platform.