Consumers are ready to celebrate and spend for the holidays, but uncertainty looms

– 66% of consumers surveyed say they will be more concerned about the economy during the holiday season.

– 58% plan to start their holiday shopping before November.

– 73% said they consider sustainability when shopping for the holidays.

October 17, 2022

ARMONK, NY, October 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — According to annual global holiday shopping and travel report published by IBM (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV) Today, many global consumers are ready to celebrate the holidays again and will shop earlier than in the past. However, as a broader set of economic and political issues have taken center stage over the past year, new risks and uncertainty loom over their plans.

The study found that 2022 procurement budgets are up 8% from 2021, in line with Bain’s Economic Forecast— and holiday travel budgets have increased by nearly half. However, factors such as inflation and rising prices have made economic concerns a priority this holiday season. While 59% of consumers surveyed say they will be less concerned about COVID-19, two in three say they will be more concerned about the economy. 59% of respondents say they are more worried about supply chain disruptions that could make holiday shopping more difficult or more expensive.

“According to the survey results, in 2022, consumers expect to return to holiday traditions that they have had to change over the past two years,” said Karl Haller, Partner, Head of Consumer Skills Center, IBM Consulting. “They start shopping and planning their trips earlier, but also want to hedge their bets with options like free returns or cancellations. To adapt to these changes in consumer behavior, retailers will need better visibility and traceability across product inventory, fulfillment, and returns. AI can help them understand, prioritize, and resolve critical issues in real time.”

Other noteworthy findings include:

Uncertainty around inflation, gas prices and the supply chain drives consumer plans

As concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic ease for many consumers, concerns shift to uncertain economic and supply chain conditions this holiday season.

– Nearly half of consumers surveyed will spend less if inflation continues to drive up prices. If forced to cut their holiday shopping budget, more than 60% of them will cut non-essential categories like clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories.

– If goods are unavailable due to supply chain issues, 41% of respondents say they will spend less, but 30% will spend more if they can easily find substitutes.
– If gasoline prices drop, 35% of consumers surveyed will shop more in stores.

Consumers are planning their trips and shopping earlier, but they want to keep their options open

Continuing the move away from traditional Black Friday, the start of the shopping season, 58% of consumers surveyed plan to start their holiday shopping before November, up from 44% last year. Nearly two in three plan to pre-order this holiday season to get their products on time with guaranteed prices.

At the same time, consumers want to keep their options open. Nearly seven in ten surveyed will opt for brands or retailers that offer free cancellations, reorders and returns, as well as a COVID-19 safe environment this holiday season. The results of the study seem to indicate that these benefits are often worth the price due to ongoing supply chain concerns and product availability this season.

Travel is also an area where consumers are looking to get back to normal, while mitigating any risk associated with potential price changes due to inflation and fluctuating gas prices. The study found that average travel demand will increase by 9% during the holiday season and 78% of consumers surveyed plan to buy their plane ticket before October (61%) or in October (17%).

Sustainability remains a priority for the majority of respondents despite the economic difficulties
Consistent with last year’s report, sustainability remains a priority for consumers surveyed around the world. “As more consumers align their purchases with their values, retailers and brands that can offer more eco-friendly options could potentially earn a bigger share of holiday spending,” Haller said.

Three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they consider sustainability when shopping for the holidays. Twenty-nine percent of consumers surveyed will combine multiple orders to help reduce carbon emissions, while 38% will avoid single-use plastics, and two in five will choose to shop nearby (42%) and buy products marked as environmentally friendly. sustainable or socially responsible (41%). Notably, surveyed respondents are willing to pay an average premium of 41% for sustainable products, 34% for sustainable air travel, and 37% for sustainable accommodation this holiday season.

IBV study methodology
To better understand consumer perspectives, as well as their holiday shopping and travel plans, the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed more than 12,000 adults in nine countries (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, UK, United States) in August 2022.

The full study is available at:

About the IBM Institute for Business Value
For two decades, the IBM Institute for Business Value has served as the thought leadership think tank for IBM. What inspires us is to produce research-based, technology-driven strategic insights that help leaders make smarter business decisions. From our unique position at the intersection of business, technology and society, we survey, interview and engage with thousands of executives, consumers and experts each year, synthesizing their insights into credible, inspiring insights. and usable. To stay connected and informed, sign up to receive IBV’s email newsletter at You can also follow @IBMIBV on Twitter or find us on LinkedIn at


Charlotte Bergman

IBM communications
[email protected]


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