Financial Trends: How Brands Can Convince Consumers To Spend In A Faltering Economy

Despite inflation, 86% of consumers looking to shop for the holidays say brands could persuade them to spend more than planned.

Consumers are looking for perks such as free gifts, cardholder discount, financing like buy now and pay later, or credit cards with low interest rates.

Bread Financial, a financial services company, surveyed online 3,363 respondents 18 years and older to understand consumer spending and shopping plans for the 2022 holiday season.

Results of the survey, filed online from September 7-9, were collected with U.S. Census guidelines in mind for gender, income, and region of the country.

Where consumers get their gift-giving inspiration:

  • 45% of survey participants said they get their inspiration through search
  • 39% watch and listen for hints or clues from people
  • 35% find it on social media
  • 33% from wish lists
  • 30% from TV
  • 29% from family and friends
  • 26% from retail and brand websites
  • 19% from retail and brand gift guides
  • 17% from retail and brand emails
  • 15% from direct mail and magazines
  • 9% from radio
  • 4% from recommendations from salespeople



The majority of shoppers participating in the survey said inflation will impact holiday purchases this year.

  • 39% are watching for discounts because they are spending more on food and gas
  • 26% are considering less expensive five options
  • 25% have a strict budget
  • 18% are watching for special financing terms
  • 17% said inflation is not impacting planned holiday purchases

Millennials are the most active and engaging holiday shoppers, but they -- along with Gen Z -- are the most likely to feel the impact of inflation.

The study found that 49% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennials will look to social media for gift-giving ideas. They also are significantly more likely to leverage voice-based devices and same-day delivery for purchases. And are more interested in special financing terms.

The data shows that Millennials intend to shop a wider range of retailers this holiday, averaging 4.8 retailer types versus 4.3 types overall. This group, on average, also plans to shop 5.6 gift categories versus the 4.8 categories among shoppers overall.

Based on generations, 51% of Millennials plan to spend more this holiday season, compared with 50% of Gen Z, 31% of Gen X, and 13% of Baby Boomers.

Some 88% of Gen Z and 87% of Millennials indicate that price hikes are impacting holiday purchase plans.

Some 55% of holiday shoppers will have begun to make purchases by late October, compared with 21% by early November, and 8% by early December.

Gift giving could be a bit strained this year.

  • More than two-thirds of holiday shoppers plan to buy for their spouses, partners or significant others this year, followed by 59% who plan to buy for children, and 58% who plan to buy for extended family members.
  • 56% of Gen Z will likely include buying for friends, and 43% overall
  • 23% overall plan to give gifts to pets
  • 75% of shoppers will look for deals
  • 33% will make online purchases to save time and money
  • 29% will spread out spending for a longer period of time

Shoppers will engage in a variety of tactics to ensure they get the best deal this year.

  • 52% will shop on retailer deal days like Amazon Prime Day and Target Deal Days
  • 47% will compared prices between multiple retailers
  • 46% will shop during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • 27% will use cashback and affiliate sites
  • 26% will use a browser extension like Honey to find discount codes

The data also suggests an increase in the use of buy now pay later (BNPL) in the past 12 months, and it could provide insight into the way shoppers will make purchases, according to Bread Financial.

It also seems that the credit line of a retail and store card, combined with the exclusive perks and rewards for cardholders, supports holiday shoppers’ reality of spending more –and could show an increase in use for retail and store cards.

The trends are consistent with back-to-school and college insights collected from another Bread Financial survey.

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