The Looming Holiday: Shoppers Are Pessimistic, Most Plan To Buy Online

Consumers are down on the U.S. economy. Only 22% have a positive view of it, versus 59% who are negative and 20% who are neutral, according to 2023 Consumer Spending Trends, a study by Klaviyo and Qualtrics. 

Moreover, 53% believe the economy is on its way down. But Gen Z and Millennials are more optimistic. 

Still, most feel the impact of inflation now, with these results: 

  • Inflation is affecting my spending now, but I don’t believe it will in the future — 22% 
  • Inflation is affecting my spending now and I believe it will continue affecting it in the future — 69% 
  • Inflation is not currently and will likely not affect my spending decisions — 9%



The overall negativity is reflected in peoples’ shopping patterns: 32% expect to spend less this year, only 16% are planning more. Another 52% are holding steady. The average estimated spend is $745. 

Those who are spending less expect to see these changes: 

  • Less gifting overall — 59%
  • Purchasing fewer gifts per person — 49% 
  • Buying more gifts when they are on sale — 41% 
  • Purchasing gifts for fewer people — 39% 
  • Take advantage of online discounts — 30%
  • Buying gifts earlier in the year — 24%
  • Purchasing from off price retailers — 16%

This year, people are spending more on food and beverages, and less on luxury items like jewelry.  

Retailers need to be ready for ecommerce: Consumers are planning to buy primarily online this season, although older shoppers are more likely to shop instore.  

Email is the preferred brand-marketing method for online shoppers:

  • Email — 49%
  • Social media — 18% 
  • Mail (i.e., flyer or catalog) — 16% 
  • Text message — 14% 

Gen X and Boomers are way more likely to choose email than other generations. Gen Z equally prefers email and social media at 35% each, followed by text at 22%.

Klaviyo surveyed 3,008 U.S. consumers between August 3 and August 17, 2023.

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