If all you’re planning to give for the holidays this season is some quality time, you may not be alone.
According to Accenture, a global professional services company, many individuals polled in its annual holiday retail survey said in lieu of gifts, they’re looking to spend more meaningful time with their friends and family this holiday season.
Jill Standish, global retail lead at Accenture, told Women’s Wear Daily it’s going to be “a very human holiday.”
The results of this survey come as many are still feeling the pressures of inflation on top of the return of student loan payments. Standish explained to the publication that the return of student loan payments is “basically taking money out of the system in terms of disposable income.”
Standish also noted that inflation, combined with student loan payments, all while multiple ongoing geopolitical crises are unfolding, have dampened the holiday shopping mood for many consumers.
According to the survey, 17% of consumers polled are “optimistic” about their financial situation, while 60% have already begun to “cut back on giving gifts.” Additionally, 52% of respondents are planning not to exchange gifts with other adults — good news for the youngsters. And 63% of those surveyed are cutting back on holiday decor, including festive lights, while 58% said they’re planning to cut back on holiday cooking, bad news for many.
Accenture isn’t the only source. Other recent reports have shared similar findings, including McKinsey & Company, which found only 35% of consumers plan to splurge on themselves or others, down from 39% in 2022. McKinsey & Company also found that while consumers used to start holiday shopping as early as August, 40% of consumers this year held off until November. Business Wire reported that many consumers are looking to spend under $1,000 for their holiday shopping this year.
While similar to this time last year, consumers are largely reporting hurting wallets, roughly 66% of company executives reported to Accenture that they expect profit margins for 2023 holiday shopping to be higher than last year.
Tight budgets are certainly a large part of what is driving the current consumer trends, but a decline in in-store shopping and customer service experiences across the board is another major factor. According to Accenture, retail executives have taken note: 50% are focusing on improving the in-store experience, while 55% percent report they “have undertaken extraordinary measures regarding the shopper experience and engagement this year to deliver the holiday season.”
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