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PEAK Will shoppers want to buy this Black Friday and Christmas? That depends…

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Will shoppers want to buy this Black Friday and Christmas? The answer, new research suggests, is that – it depends. Inflation and the rising cost of living will both play into spending decisions, according to IBM’s annual holiday shopping and travel report, which questioned more than 12,000 adults in nine countries, including the UK, Germany, the US, India and Mexico. 

Two thirds of respondents say they are more concerned about this economy this year than last  – even though last year was marked by concerns about Covid-19 and by supply chain issues. This year, 59% say they are less concerned about Covid-19 – and 59% are more concerned about supply chain disruption. Nearly half say they will spend less if inflation continues to drive prices up, while 35% say they will spend more if petrol prices go down. At the same time,  41% will spend less if goods are not available because of supply chain issues – although 30% will spend more in order to substitute those items. And if shoppers need to cut their budgets, 60% will start with non-essential items such as clothing, footwear, jewellery and accessories. 

Looking for certainty

Many are looking for certainty by buying early. Some 58% of shoppers want to get started on holiday shopping by the end of October – up from 44% last year. That’s being reflected in a move from retailers to run holiday sales as early as the first week of October. And nearly seven in 10 are choosing brands or retailers that offer free cancellations, changes to their orders, free returns, and a Covid-19 safe environment. 

Karl Haller, partner, consumer center of competency leader at IBM Consulting, says in a blog: “In 2022, consumers are hoping to re-embrace holiday traditions they’ve had to alter for the past two years. Many are committed to celebrating, regardless of what the next few months might bring. But how they travel, where they shop, and what they buy could still be influenced by economic shifts or other forces of change.”

That said, sustainability still remains important. Almost three-quarters (73%) will keep sustainability in mind when shopping for Christmas, and the average shopper is willing to pay 41% more for sustainable products. More than a quarter (29%) will bundle their orders in order to reduce carbon emissions while 38% avoid single use plastics.

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