An Empty Stocking: Many Consumers Will Spend Less On Holidays This Year

Hardwired patterns about email sending may have to change as the U.S. economy struggles to reopen. 

To start with, 44% of consumers say they will be spending less on holiday gifts and celebrations this year than they did in 2019, according to Will Covid-19 Change Consumer Behavior in the Long Term?, a global study by audience research and data firm Brandwatch.

Those ongoing studies about email timing — should you send the day before Thanksgiving or the day after? — may be less relevant this year.

The U.S. at least shows a flat line between shoppers spending the same on the holidays and those planning less. In the UK, Spain and Singapore, those spending less outweigh those who will spend the same.

Few people are spending more. The numbers are highest in France and Germany, but they still barely exceed 10%. 

Then there’s travel. Brands in this field are up against the fact that while 43% of consumers planned to book a trip prior to the pandemic, only half of those do now.



There may be opportunity for camping locations as people refrain from traveling abroad. Either way, it’s no time to stop communicating with people.

However, there are positive findings for firms in certain sectors.

For instance, 63% of consumers plan to undertake large-scale home improvements this year. And much of this work will be DIY: Google has seen a staggering increase in this subject in search. In addition, 63% plan to buy a house or apartment in 2020. 

Clothing and shoes are ever popular, with 73% planning to buy them this year. And 73% of new online clothing buyers will continue to shop via the internet after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Household supplies like toilet paper are selling well now, and will continue to do so — 41% of people who have been buying more such items will continue after the crisis. 

Meanwhile, 33% of consumers now feel it’s important to buy locally sourced goods.

On the downside, 27% of consumers have experienced trouble shopping online. The main problems were with delivery and lack of stock. But people aged 55 or older are more likely to find online shopping too complicated, and they tend to worry about security.

And fewer people expect to buy cars — 13% planned to purchase prior to the outbreak, and only 58% of that number intend to purchase cars now. 

On the employment front, 15% were planning to switch jobs prior to the outbreak. That’s down by a third. 

Brandwatch surveyed 6,915 consumers in Australia, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the U.S. 

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