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First Look: Consumers' 2022 Holiday Plans Report

October 2022

Report summary

Consumers’ holiday celebrations were hugely influenced by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. This year, just as many were poised to return to some normalcy, harsh economic conditions jolted plans. While there has been little change from last year on what consumers plan to spend on holiday gifts, travel and celebrations, the reality of persistent inflation means they must make tradeoffs if they want to stick to their budgets.

Key Takeaways

  • High financial anxiety leads more consumers to budget now in order to afford holiday expenses: To avoid going into debt this holiday season, consumers are being smarter about budgeting in advance and are more likely to favor a BNPL approach to cover holiday expenses over opening a new credit card.
  • Though shoppers are feeling inflation’s pinch, spending levels will look similar to last year: Consumers will be looking for the best deals and making compromises so they can keep their holiday spending in check. While that may have previously been good for Black Friday retailers, less than half of shoppers plan to to take advantage of the sale event.
  • Travelers will need to make tradeoffs to combat cost concerns: Americans are looking forward to holiday travel after two years of scaled-back celebrations, but cost has replaced COVID as an influential factor. To avoid overspending, travelers plan to shorten trips, bunk with relatives and leverage points and rewards to cover costs.
  • Purchasing holiday groceries will be a stressor for some, but most feel excited about celebrations: Despite inflation, most consumers plan on sticking to a consistent foods and drinks budget. Hosts from different generations approach their holiday celebrations differently, an important factor for brands to consider.

Methodology

The research fueling this project was fielded biweekly from August-October 2022, among a representative sample of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults per survey, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points. Historical data is drawn from surveys conducted from September-December in the relevant year among representative samples of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

About the authors

Emily Moquin previously worked at Morning Consult as a lead food & beverage analyst.

 

A headshot photograph of Charlotte Principato
Charlotte Principato
Lead Financial Services Analyst

Charlotte Principato previously worked at Morning Consult as a lead financial services analyst covering trends in the industry.

A headshot photograph of Lindsey Roeschke
Lindsey Roeschke
Lead Travel & Hospitality Analyst

Lindsey Roeschke previously worked at Morning Consult as the lead travel & hospitality analyst.

A headshot photograph of Claire Tassin
Claire Tassin
Lead Retail & E-Commerce Analyst

Claire Tassin previously worked at Morning Consult as the lead retail & e-commerce analyst.