Holiday Shopping Outlook Depends Where You Live

Christmas Shopping Online

A fresh NuVoodoo QuickTurn Study fielded this month gives us fresh indicators concerning the holiday season. This new study includes 1,889 Adults 18-64 nationwide and shows strong anticipation of the upcoming vaccinated holidays. Admittedly, that holiday anticipation is down a bit from what we saw in 2021 (when the “last year” was the pre-vaccination 2020 season), but we still see a strong 33% eagerly awaiting the holidays this year.

Who’s looking forward to the holidays most? In 2022, holiday anticipation depends on where you live. Breaking the sample into those living in urban/city environments, suburban areas, and rural areas provides surprisingly different results. Those in suburban and rural areas are decidedly less enthusiastic about the holidays this year than those in urban/city areas. Perhaps fewer of those in more densely populated urban/city areas were able to gather freely with family and friends last year and are looking forward to a more “normal” holiday season this year.

That increased level of holiday anticipation also shows up in planned spending for the holidays this year. In the aggregate, those in suburban and rural areas predict they’ll spend less on the holidays this year compared to 2021. Yet as we’d seen with holiday anticipation, many in urban/city areas expect to spend more for the holidays this year than last.

When looking at whether consumers are heading back to in-store shopping or enjoying the convenience of buying online we see a similar trajectory. Overall, a 33% plurality say they’ll keep the same balance of in-store/online shopping compared to last year and 29% predict they’ll make more of their purchases online – compared to 19% who predict more purchases in-store this year than last. But 26% of respondents in urban/city areas predict they’ll be making more purchases in-store compared to last year. In the suburbs and rural areas, the in-store numbers are far lower.Compared to what we’d seen in 2021, predictions of overall holiday spending point to a very slight increase for in-store shopping and markedly fewer predicting an even balance of in-store and online spending – suggesting that consumers are very gradually settling into what may be their new habits as we try to put the pandemic behind us.Not surprisingly, it’s those in urban/city areas who most predict that their holiday purchases will be in-store – though it must be pointed out that a narrow plurality of rural respondents also predict most of their holiday purchases will be in-store. Regardless of whether it’s a rural, suburban, or urban area, fewer say their holiday spending will be an even mix of online and in-store.Surely, the holiday shopping season this year is a new opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retailers, as some consumers venture back to “retail therapy” and the benefits of being able to hold the product, get questions answered right away, and not face the worry of a gift item being delivered on time.

Our QuickTurn Studies are completed with national samples, and we can turn them around in less than 48 hours. And NuVoodoo has a solution when you have programming questions in your local market but don’t have time or budget for a full-size perceptual study. We call them ASAP studies. They have a shorter interview and a slightly smaller sample so that we can get them through fielding more quickly at an attractive price.