A third of consumers will spend less this holiday season

Young cheerful Asian woman shopping for accessories
Inflation concerns will force many shoppers to spend less this holiday season.
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Rising inflation and fears of what’s to come could result in a less than bountiful holiday season in America.

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

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

“While consumers have increased their discretionary spending in the past few years, inflationary pressure is impacting their spending plans for this holiday season,” said Kassi Socha, director analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “This hesitancy around budgets, coupled with new timing from consumers regarding their holiday shopping, will challenge marketers to have an always-on approach that will stress the need for omnichannel adoption.”

And rather than potentially wasting money on something the recipient might not like, more consumers will be turning to gift cards this year. That was the top category for gifts, followed by apparel and accessories, toys and games, and food and beverages.

Bargain hunters are expecting a rough time as well, with over 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 a significant way for people to find what they want. Some 21% say they’ll shop more online than in-store this year compared to 2021, and more than one-third plan to take advantage of curbside pickup.

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