The holiday season is fast approaching, and with inflation showing no signs of slowing down, consumers are starting to evaluate their shopping strategies. In fact, according to the Q3 2022 Gift Card Gauge survey from Fiserv, one in four U.S. consumers plan on spending less on gift purchases this holiday season — a 100% increase from 2021 — while 60% anticipate spending about the same.
Conducted in July 2022, the Gift Card Gauge study assessed consumers’ planned gift card spending and other shopping habits for the upcoming holiday in the context of today’s turbulent, inflationary market. The results predict some very specific consumer intentions and behaviors.
With inflation and supply chain woes continually in the headlines, many consumers anticipate a difficult shopping season. Specifically, 83% express concerns with items being out of stock, while 74% are unsure if they will be able to afford what they want to purchase.
These concerns have driven nearly one-third of consumers to get a jump-start on their holiday shopping. For those who are shopping now, prices are a big motivator, with 55% hoping to spread out their spending over time — as opposed to buying everything during the holiday shopping period. Moreover, 30% have taken advantage of yearly promotions, including Fourth of July and Memorial Day sales, to offset rising costs.
Product availability is also a prime consideration for consumers, with 38% saying they are shopping now to ensure they get available items. And if they can’t find an item, retailers should have gift cards ready to fill the void, as 60% of consumers polled will purchase gift cards if they cannot find the products they want.
While 2021 saw a massive return to in-person shopping following a quiet 2020, retailers should expect consumers to rely heavily on the digital marketplace this holiday season.
In fact, for the second year in a row, Cyber Monday (39%) overtook Black Friday (37%) as the shopping holiday consumers are mostly likely to splurge on, while 42% of shoppers said they plan on shopping mostly online during the holidays, up from 37% in 2021.
On top of the costs of physically visiting stores — gas, parking and so on — 61% of consumers note a potential lack of product selection as a big concern heading into the holidays. This further supports the shift to the digital marketplace, where consumers can find wider product selections from multiple vendors.
Even though price hikes concern consumers, gift card spending habits remain unchanged from 2021, with $20-$30, $50-$100 and $40-$50 returning as the top three gift card values for the holiday. Likewise, discount stores (42%), online only retailers (38%) and coffee shops (32%) remain the most popular places for purchasing gift cards, for the second year in a row.
As retailers begin stocking up for the holidays, it’s important to consumers that available gift cards reflect the spirit of the season. Specifically, 44% of consumers prefer a holiday-themed image for their gift card, followed by a wintery landscape (22%) or a patterned design (18%).
Check out more findings from the Q3 2022 Gift Card Gauge.
The Gift Card Gauge is a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18 and older, conducted to help merchants better understand industry trends and how consumers use gift cards. The margin of error for this Gauge is +/- 3.025%.