One-third of shoppers will spend less during the 2022 holiday season

Rising inflation and fears of what’s to come could lead to a less than bountiful holiday season in the United States.

A new Gartner survey finds that nearly a third of consumers plan to spend less this year. And many are starting their search for the perfect gift much earlier to take advantage of sales.

Nearly half of consumers Gartner spoke with plan to start shopping for the holidays in October or November of this year, while 16% now say they buy holiday gifts year-round. Only 10% of people he spoke to said they planned to spend more, and most said it was only because of higher prices due to inflation.

“While consumers have increased their discretionary spending in recent years, inflationary pressure is affecting their spending plans for this holiday season,” said Kassi Socha, principal analyst in Gartner’s marketing practice. “This hesitation on budgets, coupled with consumers’ new calendar for their holiday shopping, will challenge marketers to take an ongoing approach that will underscore the need for omnichannel adoption.”

And instead of wasting money on something the recipient won’t like, more consumers will turn to gift cards this year. This was the first gift category, followed by clothing and accessories, toys and games, and food and beverages.

Bargain hunters are also in for a tough time, with more than 75% of shoppers saying they don’t expect to see as many (or as deep) discounts this holiday season compared to last year.

And online shopping will once again be an important way for people to find what they want. 21% say they will shop more online than in-store this year compared to 2021 and more than a third plan to take advantage of curbside pickup.

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