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Consumer Holiday Shopping Predictions 2021

Shoppers around the world are pairing online browsing with in-store purchases as they get a head start on holiday shopping

Last year’s holiday shopping season was met with much uncertainty and trepidation. Yet, as you can see from our 2020 Black Friday Cyber Monday review, retail performed well, despite the pandemic challenges. This year the challenges are different, with inflation and supply chain shortages still running rampant. So, what can retailers expect this time around? Let’s take a look at some holiday shopping predictions across the globe.

U.S. shoppers took early advantage of seasonal sales

As we head into the holiday season, more than $1 in every $4 spent on retail purchases in the U.S. during the 2021 holiday season will come from online orders. Deloitte projects ecommerce sales for November 2021 to January 2022 to climb between 11% and 15%.

Although some retailers were worried about how the industry would fare at the beginning of the year, a strong theme of retail resilience has grown as we head into 2022. The National Retail Federation (NRF) projects November and December retail sales of $843.4 billion to $859 billion, up 8.5% to 10.5% from 2020 results.

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”

Common shopping trends are continuing to pick up speed. Thirty-seven percent of consumers expect to spend more on online orders for home delivery, and 17% said they will spend more on BOPIS and curbside-pickup orders, according to the Coresight Research x January Digital 2021 U.S. Holiday Insights Survey.

Canadian shoppers will spend $100 more this year

As for consumer insights from neighboring North American countries, shoppers began buying gifts as early as October in Canada. November will be the busiest shopping month of the season, with 36% of consumers planning to start buying gifts then.

Unlike U.S. shoppers already taking advantage of seasonal sales, 43% of people in Canada plan to shop on Black Friday and 35% on Cyber Monday. Canadians also plan to spend more this holiday season: in 2020, shoppers planned to spend an average of $693 in total, but in 2021, they plan to spend $100 more, or $792 on average.

Behaviors vary across Europe and the UK, but overall outlook is positive

In Sweden, 11% of shoppers had already started their Christmas shopping in August, the results of a consumer survey revealed. According to a 2021 study, 19% of shoppers in Sweden start their holiday shopping journey on Black Friday.

As for France, Gen Z is planning to shop in-store as we head into Black Friday and the holiday season, with 23% of the respondents who belonged to Generation Z saying they were very likely to shop in physical stores. We’ll have our eyes on the numbers to see if these trends continue or differentiate throughout the rest of the year and into 2022.

Holiday sales in the UK this year will grow by 8.1% from last year, according to eMarketer. Among UK online consumers, just under one in five expect to spend more this year, and another 45% anticipated spending being about the same as last year.

eCommerce will reign globally

As far as holiday shopping goes, almost two out of three Australian Christmas shoppers (63%) began purchasing gifts in September of this year. Online shopping will continue to increase, with 41% of online shoppers intending to make more online purchases this year.

Likewise, the Latin American region is expecting to head into the holiday season with an influx of online shopping, and retailers have been amping up their online presence to prepare.

Looking ahead for 2022

Overall, online spending is expected to remain high across the board. Specifically for the U.S., online shopping is only slightly different from last year, with 62% for 2021 versus 64% in 2020. In-store spending for the holidays is forecast to rebound to a 33% share in 2021 from 28% in 2020, nearing the 36% mark achieved in 2019.

Holiday shopping predictions also indicate that more shopping will be done in-person than last year. With that being said, however, digital revenue for the Q4 period is expected to reach $215.45 billion in ecommerce sales. That’s up from a revised $192.19 billion over the same two months in 2020, according to Digital Commerce 360.

As we head into 2022, it will be interesting to see what consumer insights and retail trends stick around, as well as the effects the supply chain and inflation will have on retailers in the new year. As always, if your holiday observations have you curious about pricing implications, we’d love to enter into that conversation with you!

About the Author

Maisie is a content marketer and copywriter specializing in B2B SaaS, ecommerce and retail. She's constantly in pursuit of the perfect combination of words, and a good donut.