6 things to know about the holiday shopping season
The 2022 holiday shopping season is underway for many retailers as the preparation for this year’s fourth quarter has included many unknowns and less predictability than past years. Inflation, gas prices and shipping disruptions have kept retailers on their toes. Yet optimism remains high as consumer spending remains steady, according to the National Retail Federation.
Why are retailers offering holiday deals in October?
Retailers are responding to consumer demand by starting deals and promotions for winter holiday merchandise earlier in the year. That also allows consumers to spread out their budget over a longer period of time and search for the best deal for their holiday purchases.
This year, retailers moved up their peak shipping season to allow for additional time to bring in products for the winter holiday season. According to NRF’s latest consumer survey, 44% of holiday shoppers say it’s better to purchase gifts and other seasonal items now because they believe inflation will continue to impact prices later in the year. Another 31% believe it’s best to purchase items now because the deals won’t get any better.
Is Black Friday still important?
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are part of the five-day shopping event that begins on Thanksgiving Day and continues through the following Monday. Typically, these five days represent some of the busiest shopping days of the year as consumers browse and buy online, in stores and, increasingly, on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Consumer behavior has shifted in recent years, with many consumers preferring to spread their shopping out over the entire season. Retailers have adapted to ensure they are meeting consumers when and how they want to shop. Some might choose to close on Thanksgiving Day; others spread out their “Black Friday” deals; and others will be featuring the same deals both in stores and online throughout the holiday season.
However, for many consumers Thanksgiving weekend shopping is not just about the sales — it’s a tradition or something to do with friends and family over the holiday season. With COVID-19 taking a backseat in many consumers’ minds this year, they might be more eager than ever to embrace pre-pandemic norms and ways of celebrating.
According to a September 2022 poll conducted by NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics, 45% of holiday shoppers say they are likely to browse and buy in stores on Black Friday this year.
Will holiday sales change as the season progresses?
Retailers adjust their promotion strategies and marketing calendars to meet consumer demand. For many, that could mean launching holiday sales early or understanding that promotions and sales might be even more important to consumers this year, in light of inflation and higher cost of living.
NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics’ annual September survey showed that 58% of holiday shoppers also say that sales and promotions are more important to them when shopping for gifts and other holiday items this year compared with last year. This is up significantly from 48% in September 2021.