Americans are tiptoeing out of economic turmoil this Christmas holiday shopping season

However, the use of buy-now, pay-later options is stagnating at about 15%, even though many big retailers have adopted them.
By: The Conversation
HIDALGO, Texas - Nov. 22, 2023 - PRLog -- By: Ayalla A. Ruvio, Forrest Morgeson, Michigan State University

With two big shopping days on the horizon – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – U.S. retailers are getting ready for the most important time of the year. The stakes are high: For some companies, the holiday shopping season accounts for 50% of annual revenue. But economic uncertainty and recent inflation could put a damper on customers' holiday spending, our new research suggests.

As marketing professors, we know that consumer spending drives the U.S. economy. So for the second year in a row, we surveyed more than 500 Americans about their holiday shopping plans. We found that consumers are conflicted: They're excited for deals and looking forward to treating themselves, but they're feeling squeezed by high prices.

Consumers are starting the season cautiously optimistic …

When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two-thirds of respondents say they think deals will be as good as or better than they were last year — up from 56% in 2022. That's in line with the predictions of market research firm Adobe Analytics, which expects record discounts this year.

Shoppers also plan to splurge a little on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The share who plan to prioritize shopping for necessities fell slightly from 2022, while those who plan to buy luxury items rose modestly. Meanwhile, plans to spend on big-ticket items stayed stable at 15%.

Despite a minor shift to more expensive items, these findings are concerning for retailers. That's because big-ticket items have historically been one of the top three categories for consumers spending money on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 15% is on the low side.

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