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2022 Deloitte holiday survey

Holiday spirit shines despite economic pressures

The 2022 holiday season will be defined by shifting priorities as consumers find ways to navigate inflation and keep the holidays festive.

Read on to explore the retail survey and holiday travel trends.

Retail key findings

2022 Deloitte holiday retail survey

Finances are in a precarious position as we head into the holidays—37% of American households say their financial situation is worse than last year. But there are bright spots this season despite economic pressures. Holiday spirit (and spending) is alive and well as shoppers adjust their spending strategies in response to inflation.

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Consumers make celebrating a priority

Despite economic concerns, consumers are finding ways to make the holidays festive this holiday shopping season. While they may be spending the same amount overall, how they are spending is changing. Non-gift purchases are taking a back seat as shoppers prioritize social experiences and buying gifts for others.

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Low-income regaining holiday cheer

While every income group will likely have to deal with the effects of inflation, lower-income shoppers are regaining confidence and plan to spend more this year. They’re increasing their spend across all categories, returning to prepandemic shopping levels. In addition to a higher average spend, fewer low-income shoppers are sitting this season out: 13% in 2022 compared to 21% in 2021.

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Inflation shrinks the shopping window

With 73% expecting higher prices this holiday shopping season, consumers plan to pull back on the number of gifts purchased to stretch their finances and outsmart inflation. As a result, shoppers expect to visit fewer instore and online retailers, shrinking the shopping window to 5.8 weeks vs. 6.4 weeks in 2021.

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Shoppers off to an early start

After two years of dealing with rising prices, stockouts, and extended delivery times, shoppers are not taking any chances this holiday season. As a result, 38% plan to start their shopping earlier, pulling more of their budget into October and spending an average of $329 vs. $266 in 2021.

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Travel key findings

2022 Deloitte holiday travel survey

After climbing upward for a year and a half, Americans’ enthusiasm for travel appears dampened this holiday season. Pandemic concerns are fading, but financial woes and flight cancellations have more deciding to stay home. As travelers reconnect with family and friends, airlines and hotels should look to reestablish trust and high service standards.

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Concerns about money and disruption curb travel

Holiday travel intent dips, especially for leisure trips involving paid lodging. The decline in travel intent is mostly attributable to fewer Americans taking leisure vacations, while the number planning to visit friends and relatives is similar to 2021. Financial considerations are this season’s biggest drag on travel demand, and one in five Americans staying home cite worries about travel disruption.

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From a busy start to a strong long-tail finish

Fifteen percent of all Americans plan to travel Thanksgiving weekend, and 14% plan to travel between Christmas and New Year’s. Thanksgiving will be the busiest time, but eight in 10 trips will be a week or shorter. And although only 10% of holiday trips are planned for early January, nearly half of those will be longer than a week.

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Demand dips across most travel products

With fewer Americans traveling, demand will be weaker across most travel segments, but hotels can expect a bigger hit than airlines. Thirty-five percent of travelers plan to stay in hotels (vs. 37% in 2021), while 15% plan to stay in rentals (vs. 17% in 2021). Participation in in-destination experiences is also expected to drop, with fewer travelers planning to partake across most paid activities this year.

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Many older Americans will sit this one out … again

Older Americans, who had been showing more enthusiasm for travel after a prolonged pandemic-driven hesitance, are once again shying away. Only 22% of Americans age 55 and older plan to travel, down from 36% in 2021. Financial worries are the top travel deterrent across age groups, but the oldest are most likely to cite potential delays and cancellations as a reason to stay home.

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Access more insights

Deloitte’s Mike Daher and Nick Handrinos tell host Tanya Ott how the retail and travel industry can sooth consumers’ nerves this holiday season. 19 MIN LISTEN Consumer industry; Retail and distribution; Travel, hospitality, and leisure

Join us as we uncover the 2022 consumer trends that companies should prepare for this holiday season. November 9, 2022 Dbrief

Get connected

Meet the contributors to the Deloitte Consumer Insights 2022. For more insights, visit the Consumer Industry Center and read more on the automotive, consumer products, retail, transportation, hospitality, and services sectors.

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Rodney R. Sides

Vice chairman and US leader Retail & Distribution

Nick Handrinos

Vice chair and US Retail & Consumer Products leader

Stephen Rogers

Executive director

Lupine Skelly

Research leader, retail, wholesale, and distribution

Eileen Crowley

Vice chair and US Transportation, Hospitality & Services attest leader

Michael Daher

Vice chair and US Transportation, Hospitality & Services nonattest leader

Peter Caputo

Principal and US Hospitality leader

Matt Soderberg

Principal and US Airlines leader

Maggie Rauch

Research leader, transportation, hospitality, and services

Upasana Naik

Senior analyst, transportation, hospitality, and services