Customers Prefer Cheap Options Over Fast Shipping This Holiday Season


The 2023 Holiday Consumer Spending survey shows that customers are still weary of inflation and concerned about receiving value for money.

Ankura Consulting, a global expert services and advisory firm, published its 2023 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by its Performance Improvement Practice. The survey polled over 1,000 consumers and analyzed sentiment on the economy, personal finances, and spending this holiday season. 

The research revealed several key consumer factors retailers should consider;

Consumers are tired of inflation 

The impact of inflation on consumer spending is still very high. Consumers are thinking twice before loosening their pockets. At such a time, value-for-money is a key aspect customers will look for in their purchases, and brands must advertise to them accordingly.

Marketers must cater to multiple generations

The overall shopping experience differs for different age groups of consumers. While the younger generation aged 18 to 42 would lean towards the look and feel of their purchases and the outside experience, the senior side of shoppers, aged 55+, prefer family bonding over gifts and passing the economic uncertainty successfully. Marketers need to be careful that their campaigns are designed to appeal to the various segments as per their unique preferences.

In-store purchases still hold value

Online shopping has made its mark for convenience and speed, but in-store purchases continue to hold value for the “experience.” The report showed that 18% of respondents will shop nearly 100% online, and 35% will shop mostly online. However, shoppers in the older age bracket preferred visiting stores to make the best use of limited funds. Respondents showed a preference for live support in the stores. So, marketers must keep their staff trained and ready for the footfall.

Cheaper options over same-day delivery

Same-day delivery is no longer a primary satisfaction indicator for customers. With the economic uncertainty in place, consumers are showing a willingness to receive their gifts late, given they are cheaper on the price scale. Marketers can utilise this insight to reduce the thresholds for free shipping. 

Use of technology in marketing efforts 

Social media platforms continue to be primary channels for shopping, especially for the younger generations. Gen Z customers are excited about using AI in their shopping experiences in stores as well. The report showed that 35% of those aged between 18 and 42 and 15% of baby boomers are using AI features. Brands must leverage technology to enhance customer experiences this holiday season.  

Gift cards remain trendy 

Consumers have reflected interest in buying gift cards both online and offline, and they will be a significant contributor to this holiday season’s earnings. As per the study, 61% of shoppers will choose gift cards for this holiday season’s shopping.

Key findings from the report also include:

  • Nearly 60% of shoppers feel “bad” or “not good” about the economy right now 
  • 31% of shoppers are expected to spend less than last year 
  • Respondents indicate an expected decrease in spending on others 
  • 98% of shoppers plan to buy their gifts before the power weekend of December 22
  • 47% of shoppers will spend during the Black Friday weekend, while 20% will do so the day after Christmas
  • 46% of shoppers said they will shop online for the reason of overall convenience

The holiday shopping season is a crucial time period for brands. There are numerous factors affecting consumer sentiment and purchasing decisions this holiday season, and marketers must utilise these insights to tailor their campaigns and offers to drive conversion.