Sep 30, 20213 min read

2021 Holidays Unwrapped Report: How shoppers are ‘spending’ this season.

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by Klarna

The holiday season is fast approaching. If you’re ready to get a jump on filling those shopping baskets and clicking “add to cart,” you’re not alone. In our 2021 Holidays Unwrapped Report, we analyzed more than 24,000 US shoppers and proprietary shopping data from our 20 million consumers nationwide and found that 40% of shoppers will start their gift-buying earlier than last year, and 22% are already on it. 

Wondering what’s sparking this early shopping trend? Read on to discover the answer and see how your holiday shopping plans compare to those of your fellow elves, er, consumers.

Shoppers don’t want to miss out on great deals.

Who can resist a bargain? We found that the majority of shoppers (72%) are starting their browsing and buying earlier this season to take advantage of sales and deals. With nationwide supply chain issues in the news, half of shoppers also want to ensure product availability, and 45% hope this head-start will help them avoid shipping delays. Having gifts in hand saves time (and stress) during what’s arguably the busiest season of the year.

How much are shoppers willing to spend?

Wondering where you fall on the scale of uber-generous to super-Grinchy? Over one-third (34%) of shoppers plan to spend more on holiday gifts this season, while 41% intend to spend the same amount as last year. Eighteen percent are shrinking their budget and expect to spend less.

Just how big are shoppers’ budgets? Half anticipate spending between $251-1000 on all their holiday gifts this year. 

‘And how would you like to pay for that?’

Our report confirmed what we already know: Younger generations are turning away from traditional credit in favor of debit and other smarter interest-free options at checkout. Gen Z, Millennial, and Gen X shoppers are more likely to pay with debit (59%) over credit (50%), and the majority also seek out flexible payment options, like Klarna’s interest-free Pay in 4 solution, when shopping this holiday season. In addition to making big purchases more accessible, flexible payments help people spread the costs of the holiday season.

In-store or online?

Wondering how much competition you’ll have for parking at the mall this year? Forty-four percent of shoppers believe they’ll do the bulk of their holiday buying digitally this year, while 30% plan to shop primarily in-store. More than a quarter (27%) expect to shop just as much online as they do in-store. 

When shoppers opt for brick-and-mortar stores, which are their faves? Big-box retailers (62%) are the most popular place to shop this holiday season, followed by department stores (37%) and malls (34%). Gen Zers (44%) are more likely than all other age groups (Millennials: 38%, Gen Xers: 30%, Baby Boomers: 28%) to hit shopping malls this holiday season.

Where do you get your gift inspo?

Finding the perfect gift is often a challenge. Where do shoppers discover some of the coolest items around? Half say browsing in-store helps, while 48% do their research online, and 35% enjoy scrolling through apps for inspiration.

Want to see more key consumer insights?

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