How much will people spend during the 2022 holiday season?

A customer sitting on a couch with a laptop spending money online for the 2022 holiday shopping season.

COVID-19 disrupted how, when, and where people shop. McKinsey & Company research suggests the pandemic propelled ecommerce “into hyperdrive” and compressed “a decade’s worth of digital adoption into 100 days.”

Businesses in all sectors were forced to adapt, and the ones that did so successfully saw unprecedented growth, especially during the holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday sales grew 14.1% in 2021 to hit a record $886.7 billion. And despite industry challenges like the lingering pandemic, supply chain and labor force issues, and persistent inflation, the NRF expects “further growth for 2022.”

Given the changes to social behavior and economic uncertainty of the past few years, the way that people shop and the variability in their spending makes for unprecedented and unpredictable consumer trends. Indeed, forecasting is difficult again this year. But having an understanding of what this holiday season may look like will help businesses plan accordingly.

In this article, you’ll find statistics and insights on how much people will spend during the holiday season and the ways they’ll spend. Specifically, you’ll learn:

A quick review of 2021 holiday spending

In 2021, the Econsultancy and Adobe Digital Trends Experience Index found that many brands recognized the need to improve the digital experience they provided to customers. As more shopping migrated online due to the pandemic, a great user experience is essential for increasing revenue.

According to the 2021 Digital Trends Report, 60% of client-side respondents said that if they were a customer of their own digital experience, they would “possibly or definitely get frustrated.” The report posed the question, “Where does your company’s digital experience fall?” Asking and answering tough questions can help you rethink the digital experience you’re providing, rather than getting attached to familiarity.

Even as we return to more normal daily life, there are still changes in market trends every year that companies must be aware of. Quickly embracing and adapting to new changes can make your business stand out from the rest. With ecommerce spending up 11% from 2020 and 64% from 2019, it’s clear that providing a great digital experience is more important than ever before.

2022 holiday spending predictions

As the pandemic transformed many of our day-to-day functions, it’s likely that online shopping options will continue to increase and convenience will reign supreme. Labor shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, and COVID concerns could affect buying habits, while stress over tight budgets and getting the perfect gift before it’s gone are top reasons for buyers to get ahead of the crowds this year.

The 2021 holiday season spending reached 886.7 billion dollars.

How much will Americans spend overall?

Data suggests that this year will not bring about the same 10–15% jump in holiday spending that 2021 saw. Due to economic concerns, consumer spending is down and the 2022 holiday season will likely not see year-over-year growth. In the US alone, holiday gift spending is expected to decrease by $30 billion.

Nearly 60% of consumers are projected to cut back on non-food spending during this time of year. The biggest cutbacks are likely to be in the clothing and footwear department (25% decrease). To spread their spending out over time and get ahead of the crowds, people are choosing to shop earlier this year to find good deals.

All that being said, other data suggests that spending will still increase. Insights from ROI Revolution predict that US holiday spending could reach $1.3 trillion in 2022.

When will consumers start shopping?

The holiday hustle and bustle started in September for 25% of US shoppers, according to industry analysts, and half of shoppers planned to begin buying gifts in October. It comes as no surprise due to supply chain issues and concerns over getting the perfect gift in time for the holidays. Surveys suggest that fewer people will be shopping in November and December than ever before.

How will ecommerce fare?

Adobe predicted 2.5% growth in US online holiday sales in 2022 for a total spend of nearly $210 billion. Due to continued pandemic concerns and the convenience and ease of online shopping, many customers are choosing not to shop in physical stores.

Just like in previous years, online shopping will continue to dominate consumer spending. Research from Deloitte found that online shopping will make up 63% of holiday season spending, and online retailers are a preferred outlet for consumers to spend their money. With the long to-do lists customers have during the holidays, online shopping alleviates some seasonal stress. It’s safe to say that ecommerce is here to stay.

How much will Americans spend on gifts?

Deloitte research suggests that overall holiday spending in 2022 is expected to match 2021 levels closely, at $1,455 per consumer. According to the NRF, consumers plan to spend $998, on average, for holiday gifts this year.

How much will parents spend per child?

When it comes to their gift recipients, kids are the top priority for parents (54%), followed by their spouses. In 2021, American parents spent an average of $276 per child and $251 on gifts for themselves and their partners, and they’re expected to spend similarly this year.

How much will people spend on themselves this year?

In the age of self-care, many people are prioritizing themselves when it comes to holiday purchases. A recent study found that US adults plan to spend $183 on themselves this holiday season, with two-thirds of purchases being on clothing.

What will the Christmas Price Index (CPI) be this year?

Each year, PNC puts together a whimsical list of how much each gift from the classic holiday song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” would cost today. In 2021, the total US CPI was $41,205.58, a 5.7% growth compared to 2019.

This year, “a partridge in a pear tree” would cost $222.68, up 6% due “entirely to the cost of this tree.” The price of “two turtle doves” would be $450, an increase of 50% and “the most changed gifts in the index this year.”

How will COVID impact the 2022 holiday season?

Research from Numerator has shown that almost three-quarters of consumers (73%) feel that COVID will affect the 2022 holiday season — with 38% of respondents expecting the impact to be moderate or significant.

US adults plan to spend $183 on themselves this holiday season, with two-thirds of purchases being on clothing.

How will inflation impact the 2022 holiday season?

Inflation will have an impact on retail worldwide for the 2022 holiday season. The Pew Research Center analyzed inflation rates for 44 nations with advanced economies. It found that 37 of them had an average annual inflation rate in the first quarter of 2022 that was at least twice the amount it was at the same time in 2020.

For example, Israel saw inflation for the first quarter of 2022 — 25 times what it was during that quarter in 2020. Practical Ecommerce research predicts that by Christmas Day, the global annual inflation rate will top 6%, putting negative pressure on retail sales.

How much will Americans spend on Christmas trees?

Consumer Reports found that the average cost of a real Christmas tree in 2020 was $81. A 2022 survey conducted by industry group The Real Christmas Tree Board asked 55 wholesale Christmas tree growers — which make up two-thirds of the nation’s supply — and found that 71% of respondents planned on raising the prices they charge to retailers by 5–15%. Others planned to increase Christmas tree prices by as much as 20%.

What percentage of people will receive gift cards?

Some research predicts that consumers will spend almost half (46%) of their holiday budget on gift cards. Other data shows that more than half of Americans would prefer to receive a gift card over a physical gift. It also found that gift card receivers were much more likely to spend a gift card at a store or restaurant (61%) than online (39%). While gift cards are the preferred gift to receive, people are still more likely to give physical presents (58%).

What percentage of purchases will take place on mobile?

Research has found that online consumers like shopping on their mobile devices more than their desktop computers. In fact, 53% of US consumers prefer to do their holiday shopping from a mobile device. While 57% of the boomer generation preferred to shop on their computer, more than a quarter (26%) favored shopping from their mobile device.

Be ready for the 2022 holiday season

While seasonal spending may not grow by the amount it has in previous years, it’s still on track to increase. Inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the pandemic will affect where and how much consumers spend on gifts. Online options and convenience will be important for buyers during this busy time of year, and more than half have already started their seasonal shopping.

Adobe Commerce helps you personalize your specific customer segments, create content with an easy-to-use interface, and quickly update pages when needed. And with Adobe Marketo Engage, your business will have the complete toolkit to drive lead-winning, account-based marketing automation from acquisition to advocacy. These tools can help you engage your customer base and bring in new business during the holiday season and beyond.

If you’re ready to get a jump on holiday sales, you first need to evaluate how prepared your business is for the upcoming rush.

Check out the Adobe Commerce Holiday Season Optimization Bundle to help your business get the most out of the holiday season.