For retailers, the months leading up to peak selling season are a whirlwind of planning and strategizing, as they strive to capture the hearts — and wallets — of shoppers. For shoppers, the holidays transform storefronts into portals of inspiration and shopping bags into treasure chests of childlike excitement.
However, in a world marked by constant change and shifting consumer preferences, accurately predicting holiday retail trends has become harder and harder. Last year, retail sales during 2022’s November-December holiday season grew 5.3% over 2021 to $936.3 billion, falling short of the National Retail Federation’s forecast amid continuing inflation and high interest rates.
Holiday forecasts and predictions may be a bit like peering into a crystal ball — or hazy snow globe — but to help retailers make sense of it all, RIS again curates a selection of recent retail surveys and research to provide the top data needed to prepare and strategize.
Below, RIS offers our fourth annual guide to the peak selling season.
[Compare to last year’s predictions here: 2022 Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions]
Shoppers are eager to get an earlier start to their holiday shopping than in 2022. A significant 38% of the population is planning to start holiday shopping in September, a 25% increase from last year. Shoppers who turn to creators for shopping inspiration also plan to shop earlier this year, with 45% planning to start in September.
Source: LTK Holiday ShopperStudy
This year, 67% of consumers plan to begin their holiday shopping ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This trend reflects an inclination towards staggered shopping and a concerted search for comprehensive value amid inflation. When it comes to what consumers want most this season, it's a deal. Promotional sales and discounts (64%) are highlighted as a top factor driving purchasing decisions, demonstrating the significance of affordability during this period.
Source: Radial 2023 Peak Consumer Survey
Your brand needs to be holiday-ready now: 11% already holiday shopped in July and 14% in August, while 19% will in September, 35% in October, 57% in November, and 48% in December.
Source: Bazaarvoice’s Holiday Consumer Survey
Nearly 50% of respondents said they will begin shopping no later than October and 26% of consumers are bypassing Black Friday entirely. More than half of Gen X and 50% of millennial shoppers are shopping earlier for holiday deals in September and October. Despite the long-standing tradition of door-busting holiday sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are least important to baby boomers. Less than 14% of shoppers across all demographics are waiting until the last minute to start holiday shopping – most likely scorned by supply chain issues of years past.
Source: Celigo’s 2023 Holiday Shopping TrendsReport