2023-2024 Holidays Unwrapped

February, 2024

A Festive, Not Frivolous, Holiday Season

While holiday sales rose 3.8% YoY and unemployment has remained low, a peek beneath the surface shows that the economic outlook isn’t all cheery – or isn’t cheery for all. Inflation accelerated in December: the consumer price index was up 3.4% YoY, largely driven by housing and energy costs, but apparel was also up despite sales. Consumer debt is climbing, and restarted student loan payments are hitting many hard.

With all of this at play, shopper mindsets over the holidays were all about flexibility, applying financial acrobatics to meet their goals and emotional needs.

Pre vs Post-Holiday Deviation

When we checked in with shoppers before the holidays, we heard a story of uncertainty and adaptation. Post-holiday, we checked in again to see how it all played out. Here’s what we found:

  • While most (6 in 10) expected to get a jump on their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, half of all shoppers ended up waiting until at least Black Friday to start checking off their list. 4 in 10 of those who said they’d shop early didn’t.
  • Only the most financially vulnerable planned to cut back their spending significantly — with 1 in 10 planning to bow out of holiday shopping altogether — but those struggling financially ended up spending 17% more than they expected.
  • 3 in 4 planned to spend the same as or more than the previous year, and once the best deals were secured, payment options like BNPL were key in helping spread out the financial hit, especially for young families and diverse audiences.

For the full report, click ‘Download PDF’ below.

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