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U.S. Holiday Shopping Season Trends: Resilient Consumers Navigate Rising Costs

Jaleel Mwangi



  • Projected Spending: According to a recent study from Adobe, consumers are anticipated to spend a staggering $221.8 billion on online holiday shopping, reflecting a 4.8% increase from 2022.
  • Key Spending Areas: The majority of this spending will be on electronics, apparel, furniture/home goods, groceries, and toys, which will account for more than half of the total season’s spending ($221.8 billion).
  • BNPL Trend: The “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) approach is gaining traction, with Adobe projecting consumers to spend $17 billion using BNPL, up from $14.5 billion in the previous year.
  • Mobile Shopping Dominates: Mobile device shopping will lead consumer spending, with projections indicating a sum of $113 billion over the coming 12 weeks.

Most Wanted Products

  • In the Spotlight: Top products this season include LEGO Minifigures, Kanoodle 3D, Barbie the Movie products, Tamagotchi Nano x Harry Potter, and more.
  • Gaming Console Leaders: Sony PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Nintendo Switch OLED are some of the most sought-after items.
  • Video Game Favorites: Madden NFL 24, NBA 2k24, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 headline the most popular games this season.
  • Other Notable Items: iPhone 15 models, headphones, e-readers, Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo cameras, and Ember Mugs are among other items projected to sell out fast.

Retailer Strategies and Promotions

  • Discounting Trends: Adobe suggests many of these items are expected to witness price slashes, especially during Amazon Prime Day (October 10 and 11) and the days approaching Christmas.
  • Starting Early: Almost half (49%) of consumers are initiating their holiday shopping in October, reflecting a trend where consumers are looking to spread out their spending due to higher costs and economic pressures.
  • Retailer Promotions: Retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target have started their holiday sales events early. For instance, Home Depot’s “Decor Days” event offers significant savings across a variety of products.

Economic Pressures and Consumer Adaptation

Although the summer’s peak inflation rate of 9.1% has somewhat eased, Americans still face economic constraints. Federal data indicates a shift in spending priorities to essentials like gas and groceries. Simultaneously, interest rates are the highest in 22 years, and consumer debt surpassed $1 trillion this summer, making holiday budgeting more challenging for many.

However, as retail analyst Natalie Kotlyar pointed out, many view holiday gift-giving as essential, prompting them to start shopping earlier or seek deals. Bankrate’s survey echoes this sentiment, with 41% of consumers intending to hunt for discounts, and approximately a third planning an early shopping start.

Advertisement and Marketing Strategies

A report from Proximic by ComScore revealed that 61% of marketers plan to invest the bulk of their holiday budgets in October and November, mainly through targeted online ads, social media, and video streaming. Moreover, 86% intend to maintain or increase their advertising spend from the previous year.

The shopping season’s commencement has been progressively shifting, diluting the unique appeal of Black Friday. This evolution is primarily driven by influential retailers like Amazon initiating early promotions, compelling their competitors to match the pace.

The New Landscape of Consumer Behavior

Amidst this backdrop of early sales and promotions, the modern shopper is becoming increasingly savvy. Consumers today are not only searching for the best products but are also comparing prices across multiple platforms. This has led to a discernible shift in brand loyalty, as value and convenience often take precedence over allegiance to a particular retailer.

  • Price Consciousness: Given the economic pressures and the wide availability of comparison tools and apps, today’s consumers are more price-conscious than ever before. Retailers are responding by ensuring their offers stand out not just in quality but also in price.
  • Promotion Expectations: Kotlyar remarked on this evolving trend, noting that consumers now almost expect promotions. “We have trained our consumers that there is going to be a sale,” she stated, implying that many consumers may delay purchases until they encounter the anticipated discount or deal.

Digital Influence: The role of online reviews, influencers, and social media cannot be understated. These digital touchpoints play a significant part in shaping purchase decisions, making it essential for brands to maintain a strong and positive online presence.


Despite economic pressures, U.S. consumers remain resilient and adaptive in their approach to the holiday shopping season. As retailers recognize these shifts and strategize accordingly, the upcoming months are set to witness a flurry of promotions, deals, and innovative marketing campaigns to capture consumer attention, ensuring a competitive and vibrant marketplace.

Jaleel is a sociable and communicative individual who effortlessly builds connections with others. With a strong belief in lending a helping hand, he is always ready to support those in need. Alongside his affinity for new technology, especially smartphones, Jaleel finds pleasure in exploring the latest advancements. When it comes to leisure, he cherishes vacations and finds joy in watching comedic films. With his friendly nature and diverse interests, Jaleel brings positive energy to every interaction and embraces life's enjoyable moments.