Making Merrier: 2023 Holiday Report

October, 2023

Since the pandemic hit, holiday shopping has been turned on its head: exploding eCommerce, stock shortages and supply chain issues, soaring inflation, and ever- changing celebrations. Retailers? They’re left guessing – what’s this holiday season’s trend? When and where will people shop? What are those ‘must buys’? And how much do they plan on spending?

In 2022, Horizon’s WHY team analyzed holiday trends from the lens of our Inflation Segments: the Resilient, the Vulnerable, and the Anxious. Now, we’ve revisited these groups to gauge this year’s shopper sentiment. Here’s the scoop.

This year has the potential to be a very merry season indeed for retailers, but with a few watch-outs:

In many ways, it’s “back-to-reality” this year – but “reality” for American shoppers includes ongoing inflation and uncertainty as facts of life, plus a return to higher credit card debt and diminished savings.

All the flux of the past few years means that adaptability is the name of the game, so people are leaving themselves room to shift their plans as needed and finding creative solutions to make the most of their budgets.

One important Grinch Alert: There’s still a significant group of people (around 1 in 5) who say they’ll have to cut back even more this year than last and aren’t feeling the holiday spirit at all.

Despite these economic challenges, we have identified one group of people who are the key to a winning season: The Merry-Makers. This group lives for the holidays all year round and gets into the spirit (through planning, shopping, and decorating) earlier than anyone else. They may be only 15% of all shoppers, but they have the potential to drive close to twice their share of total spending this season.

To read the full report, click ‘Download PDF’ below.

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