Influencers, Inspiration, and Inflation: Key topics driving holiday shopping habits in 2023

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The build up to the holiday season is almost palpable, Christmas lights illuminate city centers and cheese fondue and mulled wine start popping up on the menu. We pull out our coziest socks from the attic storage and gear up for hours of Home Alone movie marathons and engage in another big part of the yearly tradition – gift giving.  

In a recent survey using Cint’s own intelligent data insights gathering platform we explore the topics that are driving consumer shopping behavior this holiday season. We sought to understand the influences, inspirations, and economic factors that shape the decisions of holiday shoppers – from the importance of friends and family to the impact of inflation; take a deep dive with us into the heart of this season’s shopping habits. 

Inspiration is truly all around us  

In the age of social media influencers, it might surprise some that the most significant sources of holiday shopping inspiration still hail from the tried and true – friends, family, and good old TV ads.  

According to our survey of 300 respondents in the US, 58% cited ‘Friends and Family’ as their primary influence, followed closely by 53% who found ‘TV ads’ the most compelling. Digital ads, TikTok, social media influencers, and YouTube videos held their ground at 38%, 31%, 29%, and 29%, respectively, representing a relatively even source of social media channels through which shoppers seek inspiration. 

In-store vs. Online shopping 

While online shopping has gained steady traction through the years due to the ease and convenience of ordering from the tip of our fingers, our survey revealed that 46% of respondents still seek out unique in-store experiences during the holiday season.  

The thrill of Christmas shopping in-person, with bustling streets and the appeal of physical stores, can’t precisely be replicated behind a screen and continues to remain a draw for many. Additionally, the instant gratification of in-store purchases eliminates the need to wait or pay for delivery, resonates with time-strapped and budget-conscious shoppers. 

Tightening the purse strings

News of inflation and rising costs due to global factors has permeated our consciousness. The survey shed light on how these concerns influence holiday spending.  

An overwhelming 92% of respondents expressed that inflation and related economic factors were likely to impact their holiday shopping budgets. Only 8% believed it would have no bearing on their spending habits. In response, 66% of participants indicated plans to cut back this year, whether due to financial constraints or inflation, opting for more mindful gift-giving and less extravagant spending. 

Bargain hunting in the digital world

As savvy shoppers seek ways to stretch their budgets, the survey explored the popularity of influencer affiliate codes this holiday season. A significant 67% of respondents expressed a likelihood of using influencer affiliate codes to tap into the best discounts for their holiday shopping basket. Furthermore, 62% were ready to capitalize on the major sales events such as Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, utilizing the opportunity for at least 50% of their holiday shop.  

From the influence of friends and family to the nostalgia of in-store experiences and the strategic use of digital discounts, shoppers are navigating the commerce terrain with both sentiment and practicality in mind. The trends outlined in our CintSnap survey offer a valuable snapshot into the minds of consumer shopping behaviors. 

Cint’s research technology helps our customers to post questions and get answers from real people, in real time – and to use these insights to build business strategies, publish research, and accurately measure the impact of advertising efforts. Find out more here.