Christmas Shopping Trends: What to Expect in 2023
Once again, Christmas is just around the corner, and as we gear up for the festive season, it's essential to understand the shopping habits and trends that will shape the consumer landscape in 2023.
While trends may change from year to year, one constant remains: people spend more money during the Christmas period than at any other time of the year, making it the ideal time for brands and businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the extra revenue opportunities.
By looking back at consumer trends in Ireland in recent years, as well as more globalised surveys and research, we’ve identified a number of key trends in shopper behaviour that you can expect to see this Christmas.
Christmas 2022: The Numbers
In 2022, Irish consumers spent a staggering €1.3 billion during the four-week Christmas period on take-home grocery items. Notably, they increased their spending by 20% on average during the four weeks leading up to Christmas compared to regular weeks. On Christmas Eve alone, shoppers collectively spent €100 million (Source: https://fmi.ie/). This upsurge in spending demonstrates the enduring significance of the Christmas season for retailers, even amid cost-of-living challenges.
Shopping is starting earlier than ever before
Consumer Data from Kantar’s TGI survey reveals that most adults in Ireland commence their Christmas shopping in the November-December months. However, a noteworthy 118,000 adults start their planning as early as January-February, likely capitalising on January sales for the following year.
Globally, this is even more evident, with a recent survey by Google revealing that “as of mid-October, holiday shoppers globally had on average 21% of their holiday shopping complete.”.
With this in mind, retailers should be prepared to grab attention early and adopt an “always on” marketing approach - Christmas shopping doesn’t necessarily end on December 25th!
Online shopping continues to dominate the retail landscape
In recent years, e-commerce has steadily gained ground as the preferred mode of Christmas shopping. Unsurprisingly, this trend spiked exponentially during the pandemic, and as we look ahead to 2023, it's safe to assume that this trend will persist. Statistics from the National Retail Federation (NRF) predict that online Christmas sales will continue to climb, accounting for a significant portion of total holiday spending. Consumers favour digital channels because of their convenience, and retailers are expected to enhance their e-commerce capabilities to meet this growing demand.
However, while we will no doubt see online spending levels rise again over the Christmas period, it’s not going to be to the degree that we saw during the pandemic.
Shoppers are eager to get back in to physical stores and shopping centres
After three years of shopping online, customers are ready to get back to shopping in-store. eMarketer’s report states that in 2022, holiday spending at physical retail stores surpassed the 1 trillion-dollar mark for the first time, reflecting a 3.9% growth compared to the previous year.
Foot traffic also experienced a significant resurgence during the festive season, registering a notable 17% year-on-year increase from 2021. Most notable was the substantial boost in Black Friday foot traffic, which saw a double-digit surge, attracting 72.9 million shoppers. These are encouraging numbers that would suggest brick-and-mortar shopping isn’t going anywhere.
Economic uncertainty means cautious spending
Price-consciousness has become a defining characteristic of consumer behaviour, particularly at Christmas time. Celigo reports that an overwhelming majority of consumers are setting budget limitations on their Christmas shopping this year.
While many shoppers are committed to strict financial prudence, there is still a subset willing to spend moderately on meaningful gifts and experiences. Retailers must therefore assess shifting trends and respond accordingly by offering products catering to different budget preferences.