NPD, which recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), reported that 29 percent of U.S. consumers would spend less this holiday season due to increased economic negativity and personal finances, following its recent holiday purchase intentions consumer survey.

The report noted that while most consumers intend to spend the same or more than in 2021, the share of consumers who plan to spend less in 2022 increased from last year. As a result, spending on par with 2021 levels is expected during the traditional November and December holiday shopping season, with the potential of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent increase when the season expands to include October and January.

“Consumers are ready to get out and celebrate over the 2022 holiday season, but last year’s optimism has taken a beating as financial concerns have them feeling a bit more grinchy this year,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. 

Key findings from the report include:

  • One in five, 20 percent, holiday shoppers said they would spend less over the holidays because their economic situation had changed;
  • More than one in ten, 12 percent, would spend less on gifts to spend more on holiday entertaining;
  • Over half of the respondents, 52 percent, are less concerned about COVID-19 than in 2021, up from 32 percent; and
  • More than half, 55 percent, of respondents plan to visit friends or family at home for the holidays, up from 47 percent in 2021.

According to the NPD Group, the 2022 holiday season will be defined by changes to when, where and how consumers shop, including:

  • More early pre-Thanksgiving shoppers will start earlier. Thirty-nine percent plan to have started before October;
  • The number of consumers planning to do holiday shopping online fell from 85 percent last year to 80 percent this year—the largest shift favoring stores in years;
  • Plans to shop mass merchants grew the most from 2021, while plans for pureplay e-commerce shopping declined the most;
  • Consumers expect more of their holiday purchases to be made in-store, 46 percent, than online, 45 percent, this year— another shift from last year’s plan for half of consumer’s shopping to be done online; and
  • Among those who plan to use social media for holiday shopping research, TikTok is the only one of the top four to grow.

“Early season promotional events will help consumers to spread out their spending while also setting the stage for a more spread-out holiday shopping season,” Cohen said. “Navigating this year’s fluctuating shopping dynamics will require patience and persistence with the consumer, and a perspective on the holiday season that extends beyond the traditional retail definition.”