26% of Consumers Will Spend More This Holiday Season

A new shopping report also finds that consumers have less patience with negative shopping experiences.

October 25, 2022

CHICAGO—Twenty-six percent of consumers plan to spend more during this year’s holiday shopping season, according to TransUnion’s 2022 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report. This represents a 44% increase from last year and is a record high since TransUnion first launched its Consumer Holiday Shopping Report in 2018.

This trend was more pronounced among younger consumers, with nearly half (44%) of millennials and Gen Z consumers planning to spend more this year. In addition to inflation, a possible explanation for this might be an increased feeling of enthusiasm for holiday shopping, according to TransUnion.

When asked how they feel about holiday shopping this year, 23% of all consumers said they feel more enthusiastic. Again, this trended higher with younger consumers, with 37% of Gen Z and 43% of millennials indicating they feel more enthusiastic this year.

The top reason for consumers feeling more enthusiastic was being in a better financial position, while the top reason for feeling less enthusiastic was not having enough money to buy the gifts they want to give. The one exception to these findings was among Gen Z and Baby Boomer consumers, who said the reason they feel more enthusiastic for holiday shopping was from wanting to get back to normalcy.

When respondents were asked for the minimum discount that makes something a great deal, the top answer was “30% off.” The consensus on what constitutes “quick delivery” was two days.

When asked how much of their holiday shopping would be online, 31% of Baby Boomers said they would do minimal or no online shopping this year. This is a more than double the increase from last year and likely due to a desire for normalcy after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to adopt online shopping, says TransUnion.

“Despite documented concerns over inflation and possible recession, consumers appear to be very excited for this year’s holiday shopping season,” said Mark Rose, senior director of TransUnion’s retail business. “While some consumers may end up spending more on their holiday shopping simply because of higher costs for many goods and services, there’s good evidence that consumer optimism is intact. This is a result of increased incomes and a continued strong employment picture.”

When asked to rate the importance of certain elements of shopping on a mobile device, the highest-rated feature was two-factor authentication, with 80% of consumers indicating it was moderately or very important.

Consumers also demonstrated less patience with negative shopping experiences, compared to last year. In every category of shopping experience, more consumers indicated they would abandon their cart if retailers did not meet expectations.

“The pandemic firmly established that online shopping is here to stay, but it also led to a more discriminate shopper wherein consumers are less patient with retailers. The message from consumers to retailers is clear—‘if you want my business then ensure my information is secure, give me your best deal and don’t make me wait too long,’” said Cecilia Seiden, vice president of TransUnion’s retail business.

Last week, the NPD Group found that more consumers—over 50%—plan to spend more this holiday season, while 43% plan to spend less, predicting that consumers will try to find the balance between financial caution and holiday celebration during the upcoming shopping season.

The group’s research found that consumers plan to spend an average of $760 on holiday shopping this year, which is higher than 2020 but below 2021 planned spending. Also, compared to 2021, early shoppers will start even earlier, with half planning to begin before Thanksgiving Day.

Retailers are meeting early shoppers with deals. Walmart announced the return of its month-long savings event, “Black Friday Deals for Days.” The retailer is also bringing back its Early Access benefit for Walmart+ members, giving them an extended early access window that begins seven hours before the scheduled start times for all three events on Walmart.com.

Target recently announced that its Black Friday sales are starting now. Target’s holiday deals are happening three weeks earlier than last year. The company said in June that with consumer spending slowing, it would need to offer discounts to get rid of unwanted goods.

This year, retailers have had excess inventory, while shoppers have shifted their habits. The past two years have brought record online spending, and shoppers bought all sorts of items, which took its toll on the supply chain. In anticipation of continued spending and to get ahead of supply chain issues, companies stocked up. Then decades-high inflation hit Americans. High gasoline and food prices forced consumers to be more selective in their spending, leaving companies with more inventory than they could sell.