US Winter Holiday Shopping Market Report 2024
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In 2023, US retail sales in November and December experienced moderate growth (+1.9%) to reach $1.04 trillion as consumers tempered their spending amid inflation. The outlook for the upcoming 2024…

US Winter Holiday Shopping Market Report 2024

$ 4,995 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

Stay ahead of the curve and secure future growth for your business with Mintel’s US Winter Holiday Shopping Market Report. The report provides a data-led understanding of winter holiday shopping and opportunities for brands in retail in the US.

Topics Analyzed

  • The impact of economic and market factors on consumer behavior and winter holiday shopping.
  • How, where and when consumers plan to shop this winter holiday season.
  • The evolving role of ecommerce and omnichannel shopping during the winter holiday season.
  • Potential purchases of gifts and items for holidays celebrations.
  • How retailers can help consumers prepare for the holidays before and during the season.

US Winter Holiday Shopping Market Overview

In 2023, US retail sales in November and December experienced moderate growth (+1.9%) to reach $1.04 trillion as consumers tempered their spending amid inflation.

Consumer behavior

The outlook for the upcoming 2024 winter holiday season is brighter, but again reflects a landscape shaped by cautious consumer spending. Shoppers remain price-sensitive, with 64% aiming to spend as little possible and 41% setting a budget for their holiday shopping. Consumers still prioritize the winter holidays and have proven their resilience, but sales events and a strong value proposition will be essential to deliver growth this season.

Retailer opportunities

Retailers and brands must adapt by offering seamless omnichannel experiences and emphasizing high-value deals. Online and omnichannel shopping continue to dominate, as shoppers find it more convenient and cost-effective to shop online.

Early shopping habits have continued to evolve as consumers seek opportunities to pace spending and take advantage of both pre-season and Cyber Week deals.

A post-pandemic emphasis on holiday celebrations will buoy spending on food, beverages and experiences while in-store events will help retailers reinvigorate the holiday gifting spirit as consumers take a more “quality over quantity” approach.

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Report Scope

The Report’s focus is on Winter holidays (eg, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa), as these represent the bulk of total holiday expenditures. For the purposes of this Report, “holiday shopping” refers to the expected consumer expenditures on holiday-specific items such as gifts, decorations, seasonal candy and other food, greeting cards and other expenditures.

This Report builds on the analysis presented in previously published versions of Mintel’s Winter Holiday ShoppingUS; including most recently 2023, 2022, and 2021

Meet the Expert

Brittany joined Mintel in October 2021 as a Senior Analyst for Retail & eCommerce. She comes with more than 15 years’ experience in the retail industry, from sales to merchandising to consumer insights. She brings to Mintel a creative, collaborative and curious mindset and a passion for exploring the connections between consumers and brands.

Consumers are still feeling cautious and will again prioritize value, but retailers must expand beyond transactional relationships to uplift the holiday spirit.

Brittany Steiger, Principal Analyst Retail and eCommerce
Brittany Steiger
Principal Analyst, Retail & eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • What you need to know
    • Consumer trends: key takeaways
    • Holiday shopping trends to watch
    • Market size & forecast
    • Market predictions
    • Opportunities
  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market size and forecast
    • Winter holiday retail sales and forecast
    • Graph 1: total retail sales* in November and December, at current prices, 2014-24
    • Winter holiday retail sales and forecast
    • What happened in 2023
    • Market coverage cited positive growth in 2023
    • eCommerce was a growth engine according to Adobe Analytics
    • What to expect in 2024: cautious optimism remains a theme
    • Gift spending comprises three-quarters of total winter holiday spending
    • Graph 2: anticipated winter holiday expenditures, by category, in current dollars, 2018-23
    • Graph 3: year-over-year percent change in consumers’ planned holiday expenditures, 2019-23
    • However, consumers are pulling back on gift-giving
    • Graph 4: winter holiday budgeting and gifting behaviors, did in 2023 versus plan to do in 2024
    • Market context
    • Market drivers
    • Economic concerns will still be on the table this holiday season
    • Consumer prices rose by 3.4% in April, slightly down from March
    • Graph 5: headline CPI and shelter CPI, 2022-24
    • Consumer sentiment fell by 13% in May
    • Graph 6: consumer sentiment index, 2021-24
    • The US expanded by 1.6% in Q1 2024; unemployment remains near historic lows
    • Graph 7: quarterly real GDP growth, 2020-24
    • Graph 8: unemployment rate, 2019-24
    • Tech advancements spur innovation
    • Climate concerns propel shifts in shopping habits
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts – winter holiday mindset
    • Consumer fast facts – winter holiday shopping habits
    • Consumer mindset
    • Financial pressures are still a stress point
    • In their own words: consumers describe how the economy is impacting their winter holiday plans
    • In their own words: consumers have mixed feelings about the state of the economy
    • Holiday shoppers crave speed and affordability
    • Consumers are more price sensitive than ever
    • Graph 9: consumers who want to spend the least amount of money possible, 2020-24
    • Graph 10: consumers who plan to spend more than the prior winter holiday season, 2020-24
    • The impact is uneven, but no consumers are immune to financial pressures
    • Graph 11: attitudes toward winter holiday spending, by household income, 2024
    • Graph 12: consumers planned holiday spending behaviors, by household income, 2024
    • A thoughtful promotional strategy will be essential to win over inflation-weary holiday shoppers
    • Parents show signs of financial fatigue
    • Graph 13: winter holiday spending attitudes and behaviors, by parental status, 2024
    • Help parents layer on value
    • Winter holiday shopping participation
    • Consumers still prioritize the winter holidays
    • Graph 14: winter holiday shopping participation, 2023 versus planned participation in 2024, 2024
    • Food prices set the table for Thanksgiving feasts
    • Graph 15: shopping participation – Thanksgiving, 2020-24
    • Walmart, Aldi serve up savings
    • Younger adults embrace new holiday traditions
    • Graph 16: planned winter holiday shopping participation, by generation, 2024
    • Butterball and Bumble unite to help consumers build new holiday relationships
    • Multicultural consumers prioritize social gatherings
    • Graph 17: select holiday shopping participation, by Race and Hispanic origin
    • From food to fashion, retailers broaden their commitment to cultural heritage during the holidays
    • Winter holiday purchases
    • Top categories remain consistent, but have yet to rebound to prepandemic levels
    • Graph 18: items purchased during the 2023 winter holiday season, 2024
    • Categories may rebound as pandemic factors fade
    • Parents have more to buy
    • Graph 19: repertoire of items purchased during the 2023 winter holiday season, by parental status, 2024
    • Influencers capture the ethos of the parent experience
    • Generational trends reflect shifting approaches to holiday gifting and celebrations
    • Graph 20: items purchased during the 2023 winter holiday season, by generation, 2024
    • Multicultural consumers express identity through clothing and accessories
    • Graph 21: items purchased during the 2023 winter holiday season, by Race and Hispanic origin, 2024
    • Winter holiday gifting
    • Consumers are spending more on fewer gifts
    • Graph 22: average winter holiday gift spending per recipient (mean), 2019-24
    • Graph 23: gifting occasions – winter holidays, 2019-24
    • A strong value proposition is necessary to re-ignite the gifting spirit
    • In their own words: consumers share how they feel about gift-giving
    • In their own words: consumers share how they feel about gift-giving (cont.)
    • Older consumers bolster holiday gifting
    • Graph 24: gifting occasions – winter holidays, by generation, 2024
    • Graph 25: attitudes toward winter holiday gifting, by generation, 2024
    • Changing societal values may be pulling focus away from the commercial aspects of gifting
    • Help consumers remember why gifting matters
    • The Shift to ‘Quality Over Quantity’
    • Graph 26: attitudes toward holiday gift purchases, by generation, 2024
    • Brands and retailers can inspire a resurgence in self-gifting
    • Graph 27: self-gifting behaviors and plans, 2022-24
    • Shopping for holiday celebrations
    • Consumers most enjoy celebrating with their loved ones
    • Graph 28: attitudes toward holiday celebrations, 2024
    • In their own words: consumers share the importance of togetherness
    • Older consumers relish family time, but younger generations may have conflicting feelings
    • Graph 29: attitudes toward winter holiday gatherings, by generation, 2024
    • Fruit of the Loom adds levity to awkward holiday moments
    • Consumers are eager for affordable and convenient decorating solutions
    • Graph 30: attitudes toward holiday decorating, by household income, 2024
    • Retailers inspire shoppers with affordable finds
    • When consumers plan to shop
    • The holiday season is officially longer
    • Graph 31: winter holiday shopping timeframes, early, peak season and late shoppers, 2024
    • Graph 32: winter holiday shopping timeframes, 2024
    • Consumers make multiple shopping trips and look for any opportunity to save
    • Graph 33: attitudes toward shopping timeframe, 2024
    • Early shopping is convenient and cost-effective
    • In their own words: early shoppers describe their process
    • Early shoppers skew older, female and parents of younger children
    • Graph 34: early, peak season and late shoppers, by key demographics, 2024
    • Consumers’ winter holiday shopping habits reflect conflicting financial realities
    • Graph 35: attitudes toward shopping timeframe, by household financial position, 2024
    • Winter holiday sales events
    • Holiday sales events gained appeal amid inflation
    • Some shoppers are willing to wait for the best deals
    • Graph 36: planned winter holiday shopping behaviors during the upcoming season – holiday sales events, 2024
    • Bring on the doorbuster deals
    • Graph 37: attitudes toward winter holiday sales events, 2024
    • Shoppers need to see the value
    • Online deals drive participation in big sales events
    • Younger generations lean on social media to track deals
    • Graph 38: attitudes toward holiday deal messaging, by generation, 2024
    • Third-party browser extensions ensure shoppers don’t miss savings
    • How consumers plan to shop
    • Holiday shoppers toggle between channels
    • Graph 39: likely winter holiday shopping methods (NET), 2024
    • Graph 40: likely winter holiday shopping methods, 2024
    • Older consumers embrace omnichannel and ecommerce
    • Graph 41: likely winter holiday shopping methods, by generation, 2024
    • mCommerce is fuelling ecommerce growth
    • Graph 42: devices used for any online shopping*, 2024
    • eCommerce wins on value, but shoppers are split on the experience
    • Graph 43: attitudes toward winter holiday shopping method, 2024
    • Sensorial experiences uplift the holiday spirit
    • Retailers and brands host innovative holiday experiences
    • Older consumers may appreciate additional assistance
    • Graph 44: attitudes toward winter holiday shopping methods, by generation, 2024
    • Where consumers plan to shop
    • Mass and Amazon are still on top
    • Graph 45: likely stores to be shopped during the upcoming season, 2024
    • Women and moms shop in a greater variety of stores
    • Graph 46: repertoire of likely retailers shopped during the upcoming season, by parental status and gender, 2024
    • Amazon clearly wins ecommerce, but mass leads on omnichannel
    • Graph 47: likely stores to be shopped during the 2024 winter holiday season, in-store versus online, 2024
    • Amazon exerts its dominance in ecommerce
    • In their own words: holiday shoppers can’t stop talking about Amazon
    • Omnichannel convenience is a growing expectation
    • Most online shoppers begin their journey on Amazon
    • Graph 48: where online holiday shoppers begin their search, any rank versus most often, 2024
    • Consumers prefer to start their search on a retailer’s website
    • Graph 49: where online holiday shoppers begin their search, ranked, 2024
    • Graph 50: where online holiday shoppers begin their search, ranked – NET, 2024
    • Big retailers are popular with all, but may be losing ground with Gen Z and Millennials
    • Graph 51: likely stores to be shopped during the upcoming season, by generation, 2024
    • Secondhand shopping trends are boosting the circular economy
    • Graph 52: openness to shopping pre-owned gifts, 2024
    • Poshmark advances acceptance of gifting secondhand
    • Baby Boomers are shopping more with their values
    • Graph 53: planned conscious consumer behaviors, by generation, 2024
    • Malls have not been forgotten, but need to innovate the holiday experience
    • Graph 54: consumers planned winter holiday shopping behaviors, by age and gender, 2024
    • Retailers must connect authentically with multicultural shoppers
    • Graph 55: stores likely to be shopped during the upcoming season, by Race and Hispanic origin, 2024
    • Reasons for preferred winter holiday retailer
    • Consumers consider the entire value proposition when selecting their chosen retailer
    • Graph 56: important factors when choosing a winter holiday retailer, 2024
    • How retailers can go beyond the basics
    • Same-day delivery services offer relief to last-minute shoppers
    • Flexible return policies are increasingly important
    • Graph 57: importance of flexible return policies, by shopping timeframe, 2024
    • Graph 58: attitudes toward holiday returns, by shopping timeframe, 2024
    • Older consumers are especially discerning
    • Graph 59: important factors when choosing a winter holiday retailer, by generation, 2024
    • Women are driven by the deal
    • Graph 60: important factors when choosing a winter holiday retailer – monetary value, by gender, 2024
    • Winter holiday shopping behaviors
    • Shopping behaviors reflect a value-conscious mindset
    • Graph 61: expected winter holiday shopping behaviors, 2024
    • How consumers plan to approach value this season
    • BNPL usage is growing
    • Graph 62: planned usage of BNPL services for winter holiday purchases, by generation, 2024
    • Younger generations take a more digitally-integrated approach
    • Graph 63: select planned shopping behaviors, by generation, 2024
    • Consumers want more than just a transactional shopping experience
    • Graph 64: planned social and experiential shopping behaviors, by age and gender, 2024
    • Parents take advantage of flexible shopping options
    • Graph 65: winter holiday shopping behaviors, by parental status, 2024
    • Shopping influences
    • Holiday shoppers are influenced by a wide variety of resources
    • Graph 66: winter holiday shopping influences, 2024
    • Older consumers look to personal recommendations to guide their choices
    • Graph 67: non-media sources of influence, by generation, 2024
    • Younger adults are strongly influenced by social and digital media
    • Graph 68: media influence, by generation, 2024
    • Graph 69: attitudes toward social media and online shopping tools, by generation, 2024
    • Engagement may be shifting across platforms
    • Graph 70: most influential social media platforms, by generation, 2024
    • Engagement may be shifting across platforms (cont’d)
    • Continued effort needed for authentic representation in advertising
    • Graph 71: media influence, by Race and Hispanic origin, 2024
    • Economic pressures are chipping away at brand loyalty
    • Graph 72: winter holiday shopping influences – brand familiarity, by financial situation, 2022-24
  4. Innovation and Marketing Trends

    • Marketing, advertising and innovation
    • Walmart takes a cinematic approach to shoppable media
    • The Wall Street Journal explains Walmart’s shoppable “Add to Heart” series
    • AI gift-finding tools entered the scene
    • Anthropologie and Pinterest partnered to create immersive “Holiday House” experience
    • Opportunities
  5. Appendix

    • Market definition
    • Consumer research methodology
    • Consumer qualitative research methodology
    • Generations
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • The market
    • Winter holiday retail sales and forecast, inflation-adjusted
    • Consumer data
    • Attitudes toward winter holiday shopping
    • Graph 73: attitudes toward winter holiday shopping, US, 2024
    • Actual and planned winter holiday shopping behaviors, 2023-24
    • Graph 74: actual and planned winter holiday shopping behaviors, 2023-24

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