Giving gifts around the holiday season is an age-old tradition that spans many cultures, religions, and regions. We've grown accustomed to the trend of friends, family, employers, and businesses taking the opportunity to send a present to different recipients during the holidays. From gift cards to clothes, accessories, holiday plants, etc., whether big or small, gifting is a powerful act of kindness that helps solidify relationships with anyone.
In the last few years, B2B organizations have started following these holiday gifting traditions as well. Whether that's to welcome a new customer, incentivize a prospect to take a meeting, or simply to strengthen the bond of remote teams, it's crucial that companies understand the current state of the holiday gifting industry. We've conducted research in this field and have compiled a comprehensive report on holiday gifting statistics and trends that will help guide any B2B professional in this upcoming season of giving.
Holiday shopping predictions and holiday gifting trends for 2021
eCommerce will continue to rule the retail world
Data on eCommerce suggests that sales were up 28% in 2020, with online sales accounting for 19% of all retail sales. Although retail stores have taken extra safety measures, it doesn't mean consumers are ready to break away from their digital shopping habits.
Studies show that global eCommerce sales rose by 24% compared to sales during the pre-pandemic period. Consumers are, however, doing a mix of in-store and online shopping as they analyze the pandemic. Still, in areas under lockdown, consumers are expected to lean on digital shopping for safety and convenience.
Seasonal spending is set to start early
2020 saw people cooped up in their homes with their devices constantly in hand. This led to an increase in digital shopping, with 'constant commerce' becoming even more prevalent. With the holiday season approaching, it's highly anticipated that 'constant commerce' will be an even bigger trend.
Studies on Black Friday say that although consumers aren't always on their phones purchasing items, they always decide what they'll buy while browsing for items. Data shows that it takes a new customer about two weeks to make their purchase decision during Black Friday.
People will discover more seasonal products
The holiday season is always prime time for people to discover products and brands. Shoppers usually find themselves breaking their shopping habits to buy items they have never purchased before as celebration and gifting.
This year it's expected that discovery will be higher as consumers spend more time debating their next purchase. They'll open themselves to new brands and products. Data shows that:
- 39% of people discover new products through search engines
- 33% discover products in physical stores
- 32% of people discover new products on brand websites and apps
- 26% of people find out about new products through online ads
Video will play a big part in holiday gifting
Video viewing increased in 2020 with COVID-19, and subsequent lockdowns took effect as consumers looked for various ways to stay entertained. Studies show that consumers are more receptive to ads when they watch videos with:
- 57% researching about the products they saw in the ad
- 53% visit the ad's website
- More than half will buy the product they saw in the ad
More expenditure trends and statistics
- In 2019, Americans began shopping for the holiday season early with close to 50% starting during Black Friday in November
- About 64% of holiday shoppers waited for sales to happen before buying anything in 2019, with 62% stating that better prices are the motivation for them to visit a store they've never been in before
- 189.6 million Americans took advantage of Black Friday sales to shop in 2019
- 50% of Americans prefer to have cash instead of receiving a gift
- In 2019, about 60% of holiday season wish lists contained gift cards
- In 2019, 67% of holiday shoppers spent most of their holiday gifts to buy their children items
- In 2019, more than 70% of pet owners bought a gift for their pets
- 51% of American shoppers planned to spend the same amount they did in 2019 on holiday gifts for 2020
- About 40% of seasonal shoppers intend to spend less money this year on holiday festivities, while 8% of shoppers plan to spend more
- More than half of customers don't want to do retail shopping over health risk concerns
- 73% of consumers said they intend on having their items delivered to them
- 30% of American shoppers who prefer in-store shopping say they do so for the sensory experience, with 23% claiming they purchase in-store since they aren't sure what to buy
- 74% of people say their events will include a few people
- On the other hand, 47% of people thought the holiday events would be canceled
Average holiday season spending
- In 2019, the average American intended on spending $942 on holiday gifting
- In 2020, the average American planned on spending $1,047 during the holiday season on gifting
- 58% of Americans decide on their spending based on their relationship with the gift recipient, with 28% of them basing their holiday spending on whether or not the recipient is family or not
- Most Americans spend more than half of their holiday budget on clothing and accessories
- In 2019, the total holiday expenditure totaled $729 billion, topping charts as one of the biggest holiday seasons ever
Holiday budget statistics
- 10% of Americans factor in the amount of money a gift recipient uses on them when budgeting for the recipient's gift
- 18% of Americans want to pay off their debt
- 21% of consumers said they be giving out fewer gifts
- COVID-19 has forced 33% of adults into spending less and saving more
General holiday spending statistics
- 25% of American shoppers claim they are usually done with gift shopping by the time October rolls around
- Americans spend about $100 on Halloween, with more than $8 billion being spent on decorations, candy, and costumes for the holiday
- In 2020, expenditure increased during Valentine's Day, with spending rising by about $7 billion from 2019
- 55% of people celebrated Valentine's Day in 2020
- 86% of Americans celebrated Mother's Day in 2020 with expenditure rising to $26.7 billion
- Americans spent over $1 billion on turkey during Thanksgiving 2020
The economy may have slowed due to the pandemic, but shoppers are not relenting on holiday budgets. However, gifting trends now seem to favor online holiday shopping instead of physical stores, with Amazon leading the pack of preferred online stores. The following section dives into nine key areas that feature more important stats to help you get a better grasp of the state of the gifting industry.
1. Holiday gift search and purchase statistics
A study by Criteo showed that Americans start their holiday gift search and purchase as early as September. By November, most of them have their gifts bought, with only a fifth waiting until December. The research also found that eCommerce sites and apps now account for the majority of the searches and purchases at 71% and 86%, respectively, as opposed to physical stores.
Social networks also witness a sizable number of searches, with 32% of respondents saying they'll start their gift search on social media. Search engines come closely behind social with 27%, while 22% said they would ask their family and friends.
The statistics are a departure from the holiday season tradition, where most shoppers would wait for Black Friday. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, officially marks the holiday shopping season. Despite the attractive discounts that characterize the season, 58% of the respondents said they wouldn't have to wait for Black Friday to buy gifts if their favorite retailers offered discounts.
2. Holiday gift expenditure statistics
Generally, Americans' spending habits vary depending on household income. A study by Statista showed that from 2004 to 2020, Americans across different demographics spent $502 on average on holiday gifts for family members, while gifts to friends and co-workers accounted for $80 and $32, respectively.Similar statistics by Gallup estimated the Christmas holiday gifting spend for 2020 at least $1000 among 32% Americans, $500 to $999 (21% of the shoppers), $100 to $499 (29%), while 2% planned to spend less than $100.High-income earners remained the major spenders, with 2020 estimates at $1291 on average and the lowest-earners (less than $40,000) spending $516. Also, most of the respondents (57%) said they planned to spend the same amount they had spent in previous holidays, while only a small segment had intentions of spending more or less.
3. Sources of gift ideas statistics
According to McKinsey, 47% of shoppers need holiday gift ideas. One of their surveys found in-store search as the leading source of inspiration, with 65% of Americans saying they browse physical stores to get gift ideas. Scouring search engines and retailer websites came second, followed by newspaper advertisements, flyers, and catalogs at 40%.
A Statista research also highlighted the three as the leading sources, with in-store search taking the lead followed by retailer's website then guides and magazines.
4. Who do people gift during the holiday
Statistics by YouGov show that during the holiday season, shoppers buy gifts for eight people on average. While some gift less than five people, others have budgets for even over 50 people. The recipients are either parents, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, customers, employees, etc.
In another research by Surveymonkey, 63% of the respondents said they buy gifts for their parents, 53% gift children, while 51% for siblings. Those who purchase gifts for friends constituted 24%, co-workers, 23%, and customer gifters were only 8%.
The majority of the respondents (68%) said giving is one of their love languages. Furthermore, (71%) said that when it comes to holiday gifting, being thoughtful is what counts, an aspect that makes cards a popular gift. 59% of the gifters noted that they often accompany their gift with a card.
5. Most popular holiday gift statistics
Gift cards remain the most popular holiday gifts in the U.S., with 48% of gift shoppers intending to buy them, surprisingly exceeding clothes, which come second.
Particularly, the 2020 holiday season showed a shift in the gifting trends with an 80% increase in eGift (digital gift card) sales, according to Blackhawk Network. They link the exponential growth to the consumer response to the pandemic. But the report projects a growing trend in digital gifting, considering 2019 had also recorded a 7% growth in holiday gift card sales.
6. Company holiday gifting statistics
A survey by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) showed steady growth in companies' holiday gifting trends, with 10% of the companies interviewed saying they would spend more. However, most of them (79%) said they would spend the same as previous years, while 11% expressed intentions of cutting their budget.
In addition, 73% of the companies said they would distribute branded gifts. 42% planned to gift workers, of which 75% said they would include all their employees, while 37% planned to gift prospects and clients.
Three of the most popular gifts among the companies were gift cards (44% of the companies), apparel (39%), and food/beverages (25%). Other gifts on their list included; drinkware, desk accessories, calendars, writing instruments, electronics, bags, sporting goods, jewelry, and watches.
7. What influences holiday gifting trends
36% of shoppers interviewed by Criteo said that shipping costs are a primary consideration when buying online. This comes surprisingly before promotions, with 35% of the shoppers mentioning it as a major influence.Other influencing factors include; friends and family recommendations (28%), shipping dates (23%), new releases (14%), brand values (11%), and relevant advertising coming last at (10%).
8. Post-Black Friday purchases
According to Think With Google, 2 in 3 shoppers who have items remaining on their list after the Black Friday season still have decisions to make about them.
9. Impact of COVID on shoppers
In a retail survey done by Deloitte, four types of shoppers are emerging in the market with distinct tastes and purchase behaviors.
- The festive shopper–Constitutes 27% of holiday shoppers. Only 15% plan to gift themselves during the holidays, and 59% are willing to pay extra for socially conscious goods
- The conscious shopper–Constitutes 18% of holiday shoppers. 47% are open to gifting resale items, and 56% prefer shopping with local retailers over national chains
- The deal-seeker–Constitutes 16% of holiday shoppers. 98% plan to shop at different retailers, and 75% intend to holiday shop for more than a month
- The efficient shopper–Constitutes 24% of holiday shoppers. 50% plan to shop at a few stores 1-4 during the holidays
Hopefully, this round-up of holiday gifting statistics has given you some inspiration as you plan out your gifting campaigns this upcoming season.
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