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6 Oct 2022

Budgeting, apps and coupons: New Klarna holiday report shows big behavior changes

New York, NY – October 6, 2022 – More than 2 in 3 (68%) of shoppers plan to spend more or the same on holiday shopping this year compared to last year, according to a new holiday report from Klarna, the global leader in the generational shift away from credit cards. About 1 in 4 (24%) of shoppers have tightened their budgets and plan to spend less. Moreover, while 1 in 3 (31%) plan to spend more this holiday season, consumers of all ages are also prioritizing deals, discounts, and apps, signaling an even bigger emphasis on smart and savvy shopping habits.

“The data this year tells a slightly different story about holiday shopping. We're seeing a combination of shoppers tightening their budgets, and shoppers that are willing to spend at similar or higher rates. But the common denominator is that the majority are approaching the holiday season sales in a much more savvy way,” said Klarna’s Global Head of Partner Success, Raji Behal. “The vast majority of all holiday shoppers this season are focused on budget-friendly products, discounts, and smarter ways to shop.”

Two-thirds (66%) of shoppers are making a plan to stick to budgets this year–a 14% increase from those who stuck to budgets in 2021–and 60% say that finding deals and discounts is a top fiscal priority for this holiday season. Tools to save time and money are therefore top of mind, with coupons (50%), shopping apps (47%), and loyalty programs (44%) as the most popular “hacks” that shoppers plan to utilize to maximize their spending this year. Shopping apps are particularly popular among younger consumers, with 60% and 62% of Gen Zers and Millennials, respectively, planning to use them this holiday season. Price comparison platforms are also a popular time and money-saving tool that 42% of shoppers plan to use this season, enabling users to compare prices across thousands of retailers to find the best deals.

Shoppers are also embracing smarter, interest-free payment methods. Over half (55%) of shoppers say they will seek out flexible payment options, like interest-free BNPL, when making big purchases this holiday season. This preference is even stronger among younger generations, with nearly three-fourths (72%) of Millennials and over half (58%) of Gen Zers seeking out flexible payment options for larger purchases.


  • Holiday shoppers are off to another early start–but for new reasons. 42% of shoppers say they’re shopping even earlier this year than they did last year. Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers have already started as of September, and over two-thirds (69%) of shoppers will start their holiday shopping before Black Friday. But this year, shipping delays aren’t the biggest concern–three-fourths (75%) of those planning on shopping early this year will do so in order to take advantage of sales and deals. Additional reasons for starting early include avoiding shipping delays (51%) and ensuring product availability (49%).
  • Discount stores become a top shopping destination. While Big-Box Retailers (68%) and Department Stores (38%) remain the top two most popular retail destinations for consumers this holiday season year over year, Discount Stores (33%) rose to the number 3 spot with Dollar General (71%) and Dollar Tree (55%) as customer favorites, underscoring the value of money saving strategies. Department store preferences this year show Macy’s (70%) and JCPenny (45%) at the top of shoppers’ lists, with Walmart (83%) being this years’ most popular big-box store. 
  • In-person shopping makes a comeback. Shoppers are embracing both online and in-store channels this holiday season underscoring the return of in-store retail, in contrast to last year’s strong preference towards online shopping. 26% of shoppers will do the majority of their shopping in-store this year, and 37% will do the majority of their shopping just as much online and in-store, up 10% from 2021. 38% of shoppers say they’ll do the majority of their shopping online, which is slightly down by -4%  compared to 2021.
  • Video content reigns supreme for online shoppers. Consumers are demanding more immersive and informative content this holiday season, with almost half (48%) saying they prefer video to static photos when shopping online. Livestream shopping also remains a popular sales channel among younger consumers, with 66% of Millennials and 54% of Gen Z interested in attending virtual live-streamed shopping events this holiday season. 
  • Apparel is in this holiday season. Fashion & Apparel is the most popular category to shop for this holiday season both online (34%) and in-store (35%), followed by Electronics (31% online, 26% in-store) and Children’s Products (26% online, 25% in-store). The most popular consumer brands this year in the Fashion & Apparel category are Calvin Klein (32%), Victoria's Secret (26%), and H&M (27%); while Samsung (55%), Apple (50%), and Microsoft (30%) take the lead in the Electronics space.
  • Gifting preferences shift towards essentials. 89% of consumers hope to receive gifts that they can use everyday so that they can save money on the things they purchase all the time (64%) and because budgets are tighter (49%). In line with this, 68% of consumers would prefer to receive a physical product over an experience.
  • Social media sells–particularly among Gen Z and Millennials. Social media continues to have a strong influence on the purchasing behavior of younger generations, with 70% of Gen Z and 72% of Millennials having purchased products after seeing them on social media. While YouTube and Instagram are top social media platforms used by both Gen Z and Millennials (67% and 56%, respectively), TikTok is favored by Gen Z (47%), whereas Facebook remains a big driver of purchases among Millenials (72%). 
  • Sustainability is top of mind for shoppers. 59% of respondents plan to seek out brands that have a charitable or give-back mission and 55% say they always opt for more sustainable and eco-friendly gift wrapping options.

For more 2022 holiday shopping insights, visit https://insights.klarna.com/2022-holidays-unwrapped/


Findings are based on the result of a survey of 1,234 US consumers ages 18-66+, fielded September 2022, conducted by the research agency Dynata. Definitions of each age group are Gen Z (18-24); Millennials (25-40); Gen X (41-56); Boomers (57-66).

About Klarna

Since 2005 Klarna has been on a mission to revolutionize the retail banking industry. With over 150 million global active users and 2 million transactions per day, Klarna is meeting the changing demands of consumers by saving them time and money while helping them be informed and in control. Over 450,000 global retail partners, including H&M, Saks, Sephora, Macys, IKEA, Expedia Group, and Nike have integrated Klarna's innovative technology to deliver a seamless shopping experience online and in-store. Klarna has over 6,000 employees and is active in 45 markets. For more information, visit Klarna.com.