Some 86% of U.S. consumers are aware of supply chain disruptions that could impact holiday gift availability, and seven in 10 U.S. holiday shoppers are adjusting buying behavior this season, according to an L.E.K. Consulting survey.
Supply chain isn’t the only factor affecting consumer thinking, L.E.K. noted in the report entitled The Great Reopening and Priority Reset: Consumer Insights. Home-oriented behaviors adopted as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted continue to have a bearing.
“The pandemic has caused a spike in the amount of time people are spending at home, which has meant, unsurprisingly, that people are also spending more money on their homes,” stated Chris Randall, L.E.K. managing director and report co-author, in announcing the report release. “The interesting piece is that consumers are expecting to continue their increased investment in their homes for the next three years. In fact, 52% report they will permanently increase their spending on home goods in the next three years, and 26% expect to increase spending in multiple areas of the home, like home decor, media electronics, linens, large appliances, backyard recreation and so on. In other words, spending on and for the home appears to be a long-term trend.”
Perception of pandemic severity is having a limited effect in the holiday season, L.E.K. related. According to the study, 88% of Americans don’t believe the pandemic is fully contained, but just 17% said they are very concerned about it, and that it influences their day-to-day behavior significantly, down from 26% in July 2021.
“For the small percentage of Americans who believe the pandemic is fully contained, their spending behavior has largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, with some exceptions, such as dining out, out-of-home entertainment, and ride-sharing and ride-hailing, which remain slightly lower,” said Lauren DeVestern, L.E.K. managing director and report co-author. “But for the other 88%, spending continues to be impacted. That said, Americans do expect their spending to eventually return to pre-pandemic levels for most categories once the pandemic is contained.”
For this holiday season, L.E.K. points out that shoppers are turning to digital shopping more frequently.
“Surveyed consumers are expecting to purchase a larger share of their gifts online this year. In 2019, 50% to 60% of gifts were purchased in-store. This year, 50% to 60% of all gift purchases are expected to be online, a 10 to 20 percentage point increase in just two years. While consumer responses may be higher than what we’ll see in reality, they clearly point to a strong inclination for online gift buying this holiday season,” said Manny Picciola, L.E.K. managing director and report co-author.