Top 5 trends impacting the 2022 holiday season

Top 5 trends impacting the 2022 holiday season| Retail StrategyRetail Customer Experience

The top five consumer trends impacting sales this holiday shopping season.

| by Matthew Furneaux — Director of Location Intelligence, Loqate

Brands looking for a return to normal following consecutive pandemic years are undoubtedly disappointed.

Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast predicts that sales will increase by 6% this year to total $1.5 trillion, a slight decline from last year. Persistently high inflation, supply constraints
and widespread economic uncertainty are forcing companies to differentiate their offerings to attract leads and convert customers.

However, a recent Holiday Shopper Insights report offered unique perspectives into buyer behaviors this year, allowing brands and retailers to cater to customers with precision and
impact.

Here are the top five consumer trends impacting sales this holiday shopping season.

#1 Inflation is inescapable

Even as signs show that rapid inflation is finally starting to abate, rising prices are inescapable this holiday shopping season, and buyers are taking notice. The 2022 Holiday Shopper Insight Survey found high inflation is the top concern this year for 66% of Americans, outpacing fears that low inventory, shipping delays or COVID-19 will disrupt their plans. Consequently, nearly 60% of buyers say they are stressed about their gift-giving capacity, anticipating that higher prices will meaningfully diminish their buying power. Notably, 49% of shoppers expect to spend the same amount, prompting buyers to seek sales and exciting deals to maximize their purchasing capacity.

Retailers should expect that door busters and hot items will move quickly on Black Friday as prices are slashed to combat the impact of inflation and respond to consumers’ willingness to change brands or retail locations.

#2 Shopping season is already underway

This year, consumers are worried about low inventory and rising prices.

According to one industry survey, more than half of Americans say that brand loyalty is directly correlated with product availability. At the same time, consumer prices continue to rise, prompting consumers to start shopping earlier to take advantage of sales and discount opportunities.

Collectively, 87% of shoppers started shopping before December, creating an opportunity for retailers to generate sales earlier in the holiday season. Brands are responding
in kind. Top retailers began offering holiday shopping deals in October to attract early birds.

#3 Mobile matters

People continue to value in-store shopping opportunities, but online offerings are increasingly critical to the buying experience. Consumers rely on a brand or retailer’s online listings to
conduct product research, compare prices and, most importantly, make purchases. Nearly 90% of buyers prefer to buy gifts online, and many are turning to their smartphones to complete these purchases. Last year, smartphones outpaced personal computers as the preferred online shopping environment for young consumers.

In total, half of U.S. shoppers opt for a mobile buying experience, reminding brands that online shopping, today and in the future, is mobile-first.

To account for these changes, brands should continue investing in mobile-first shopping experiences, ensuring that customers are surprised, delighted and empowered with every
interaction.

#4 Consumers can be convinced

As consumers grapple with economic uncertainty, rising inflation and higher prices, they are understandably wary of overextending themselves this holiday season. However, offering the right enticements, such as free shipping or discount promotions, can persuade shoppers to complete purchases.

In addition, 84% of online shoppers are worried about their orders arriving on time. With shoppers saying they will abandon retailers after a single late delivery, integrating auto-complete and address verification tools into checkout can help retailers improve delivery reliability and keep customers happy.

When retailers speak to consumer concerns by providing solutions that streamline processes, minimize risk and amplify opportunity, they can help wary customers make important purchasing decisions.

#5 Checkout is critical

Checkout is the most important part of the buying experience because shoppers expect a quick, seamless process, and they are willing to walk away if they encounter a problem. Nearly 25 percent of shoppers say they will abandon their carts if the online checkout process is excessively difficult or complicated.

Cart abandonment costs retailers billions of dollars in sales each year, making checkout a critical frontier for elevating and enhancing the buyer experience.

With online shoppers outnumbering their in-person counterparts, an excellent checkout experience is crucial to driving sales results this holiday season. Software solutions can help streamline the process. For example, address auto-complete tools allow shoppers to complete forms with minimal input, increasing speed and accuracy during the checkout process.

A high stakes holiday shopping season

Retailers have a lot on the line this holiday season. With holiday shopping sales often accounting for a significant portion of a retailer or brand’s annual revenue, the next two months
can be the difference between a successful year and a missed opportunity.

These five trends can help retailers and brands orient decisions around consumer behaviors and preferences, allowing them to provide the products, services and experiences that consumers want most.

He is also a retail and eCommerce expert and while at Loqate, has worked with leading eCommerce brands including Nordstrom, Sephora, Kohl’s, Ralph Lauren and Michaels. Before joining GBG, Matthew cofounded Global Address (later acquired by Trillium Software) and helped to create a single platform model for a global location validation service.

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