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Survey: 2/3 of consumers plan to spend under $500 on holidays

Jungle Scout's Q4 consumer trends report says discounts and digital are topping the season's lists.

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Discounts and social media are expected to be primary motivators for consumer behavior throughout the rest of the holiday season and into the beginning of 2023, according to a new report.

The Q4 Consumer Trends Report from ecommerce seller platform Jungle Scout shared insights from more than 1,000 consumers. Here are a few takeaways:

Discounts driving holiday shopping

Inflation may have started to cool over the last month, but prices still remain elevated across numerous consumer categories, with essentials like gas, food and rent being particularly high. Meanwhile, 60% of consumers are noticing higher prices in their everyday shopping on items such as cleaning supplies, clothing and beauty products.

That’s putting pressure on consumers to save elsewhere, and it’s showing up in purchase intent for the holiday season.

The survey found the following:

Consumers are expecting to spend nearly 40% less on holiday-related expenses this year, when compared to the 10-year national average, according to the National Retail Federation, while Jungle Scout found that 67% of consumers are planning to spend under $500.

At the same time, 33% of consumers are planning to cut back on their expenses for the holiday season, with the top ways being buying fewer gifts and decorations.

As they shop, more than 58% of consumers are searching for deals and discounts as they shop.

Digital is a mode of discovery

Holiday shopping is increasingly an online practice, and that means people are discovering what they want to buy through digital channels, as well.

As they scroll, 20% of U.S. consumers get holiday gift ideas from social media. Facebook leads as a source of inspiration, followed by Instagram and TikTok.

People are also ranking virtual gifts like streaming and music subscriptions among the most popular gifts of 2022.

​The outlook for 2023: Responsible self-indulgence

Heading into 2023, people will still view financial security as a top priority, as 79% of consumers said they plan to re-evaluate finances while facing worries about inflation, gas prices and interest rates. Nearly equally, 89% of consumers believe the U.S. is headed for a recession, or already in one. The latter measure has ticked up from 76% in Q3.

But this doesn’t mean they are completely sitting on the sidelines of life. The survey found that people will also be looking to spend on experiences and themselves, albeit in a way that is fiscally prudent.

Jungle Scout found that 54% of consumers are making travel plans for 2023, which is up 16% from last year as pandemic restrictions move further into the rearview. Plus, dining out and getting manicures still rank among non-negotiable expenses.

In the end, 2023 is set to bring more change to consumer behavior, extending this period of upheaval well beyond the peak of the pandemic.

"Consumer expectations and priorities will shift in 2023, as inflation continues to impact spending," says Michael Scheschuk, president of small & medium business at Jungle Scout, in a statement. "As ecommerce advances, consumers will seek personalization at every stage of the customer journey. Brands should diversify sales channels and consider expanding into social commerce through popular platforms like TikTok, allowing them to engage with new audiences in more authentic and memorable ways."

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