Consumers Plan To Holiday Shop at Chain Stores Not Small Businesses to Save Money

Beautiful black male and female couple enjoying winter shopping in the high street.
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The pandemic and this year’s soaring inflation and consumer prices have changed American consumers into thriftier, more necessity-driven shoppers. The cost-saving trend is expected to continue into the 2022 holiday season, but it may be at the expense of the smaller stores that need the business.

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According to this year’s CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker, more American shoppers surveyed over a seven-week span said they were planning on spending most their money at discount department stores like Walmart and Target (46% at the end of the survey) than at small businesses or locally-owned stores and boutiques (18%) where items might cost extra.

The preference given to places like Target and Walmart might hurt sales even at the bigger department and specialty chain stores too. According to the CivicScience data, only 18% of consumers think they will spend the most money at department stores like Macy’s or Kohl’s and 10% say they will spend most of their money this holiday season at specialty chains like Gap and Best Buy.  

It will be hard to compete with the mega-stores this year. According to Consumer Affairs, both Walmart and Target are ramping up their efforts to better serve customers this holiday season by improving return policy and hiring more staff members. Mostly, they will be stocking more products and offering discounts on some of the most sought after gifts this holiday season.

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However, the study notes that while consumers may be more price-conscious this year, they might not spend any less overall this season. Twenty seven percent of those surveyed claim they will spend more this year on holiday gifts and 27% say they will spend less. The remaining 46% say they are going to spend the same amount as compared to last season.

The study also looked at early shopping and found that this year, more people have begun their holiday gift buying earlier than the two years previous, possibly over increased concerns respondents had with supply chain disruptions and shipping delays. According to survey data, 35% have at least started their holiday shopping so far in 2022, compared with 30% and 21% in 2021 and 2020 respectively. Of those asked, 49% were “very concerned” that shipping delays and limited product availability would prevent getting gifts in time for Christmas.

Early shoppers are also buying gifts in stores vs. online, according to a new Adobe Analytics forecast, as reported by Reuter’s. Their prediction is that online sales will only increase rise 2.5% in November and December compared to the 8.6% increase last year.

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About the prediction, Adobe Digital Insights senior director Taylor Schreiner said, “This is a radically different year than even any of the COVID fluctuations that we’ve seen in the past.”

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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