Samba TV: Consumers Not Reducing Winter Holiday Shopping Despite Economic Concerns

Samba TV Sept. 14 announced key findings from its 2022 Holiday Report conducted in tandem with global research firm HarrisX. The survey of more than 2,500 U.S. adults who plan to shop for the holidays offers the first consumer-focused research of the holiday season detailing insights into shifting shopping preferences and significant challenges for advertisers seeking to engage shoppers this holiday season.

“Consumers are in the midst of a multi-year evolution transforming both how they shop and how they consume content,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement.

Navin said ongoing inflation concerns underscore a complex economic outlook and the most fragmented consumer engagement landscape in history, and we are on par to see one of the most unique holiday shopping seasons in recent memory.

“With Americans continuing to embrace a ‘return to normalcy,’ retailers will see trends like a return to in-person shopping emerge fueling the holiday season with overall spending behaviors on par with previous years,” he said.

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According to the report, about 74% of U.S. adults plan to spend the same or more money this year on holiday shopping as they did last year. The average adult plans to spend $1,041 this holiday season on purchases. About 83% of millennials plan to spend the same or more money this year on holiday shopping. However, due to inflation and the rising price of goods, almost half of consumers (47%) say they might actually pair down holiday shopping and purchase fewer gifts.

“Take note of younger consumers this holiday season,” Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX, said in a statement. “Gen Zers are planning to splurge on their significant others spending more than $100 more than the typical U.S. adult. Gen Zers are also planning to lean into electronics in a big way, leading in smartphone, tablet and PC purchases.”

Samba found that 31% of U.S. adults plan to do most or all of their shopping in-store this holiday season — a significant increase from years past. More than one in four (28%) plan to increase in-store shopping this year compared to last year.

Just 24% now plan to do all or most of their shopping online. This is a shift from the past few years where COVID-19 concerns fueled a strong shift away from in-story to online.

In-store shoppers are planning to spend more than online shoppers, with the average person planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping in-store expecting to spend $1,286 this holiday season and the average majority online shopper planning to spend $853.

The report found that 21% of adults reported starting their holiday shopping before Labor Day. Parents are leading the early shopping charge with 1 in 4 (25%) starting before September.

“Consumers are balancing economic concerns with a deep desire for a return to normalcy this holiday season. Because nothing signals a return to holiday norms for many better than grabbing a pumpkin spice latte while shopping the gift aisles of the local mall this year, we expect to see a measurable increase of in-store purchasing compared to last year,” Navin said.

The 2022 Holiday Report finds that less than half of U.S. adults have a traditional linear TV subscription (48%). With more than half of all consumers now totally unreachable by traditional television campaigns, advertisers will need to lean into new methods to reach a majority of holiday shoppers this year.

The shift to streaming has become nearly universal, with new technologies such as voice assistants and direct-from-TV purchasing emerging as trends to watch this year, particularly among younger generations. In the study, 21% of millennials reported making purchases directly through their TV and 1 in 3 (34%) have clicked a QR code from a TV commercial to make a purchase.

More than 1 in 3 (38%) of U.S. adults report shopping online while watching streaming content, highlighting the need for smart cross-screen connected campaigns to reach consumers across every screen. Moms are the ultimate multitaskers recording the highest online shop activity while streaming (43%).

“Brands and advertisers are navigating the most fragmented consumer landscape we have ever seen,” Navin said. “Half of U.S. adults report that they no longer have access to a linear television subscription. These shoppers are poised to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on holiday gifts and yet will be completely unreachable by any traditional TV campaign. The shift to streaming has become ubiquitous across every age group with new technologies such as voice assistants and direct-from-TV purchasing emerging as trends to watch this year and into the future.”