Consumers are Spending More This Year-It’s a Holiday Miracle


Between inflation, gas prices and the overall economic climate, it’s amazing that anyone is leaving the house, let alone shopping for the winter holidays. But holiday shopping is happening, and at a record rate.

This isn’t just our opinion, of course. We have facts and numbers—this time, courtesy of the National Retail Federation (NRF) and their 2022 winter holidays survey.

Let’s start with the big picture: The NRF predicts very healthy holiday retail sales during November and December, with growth between 6% and 8% over last year.

That’s a total U.S. holiday spend of up to $960.4 billion.

With each surveyed person planning to spend an average of $832.84.

Needless to say (but I guess we’re saying it), that’s a lot of money-enough to make any retailer drool, especially coming off a couple of tough pandemic-influenced years.

So how can retailers like you take advantage of this increased consumer spending? It all starts with a greater understanding of how shopping has changed. So let’s keep going.

One Way Consumers are Saving-Shopping Early

For at least a decade, the NRF reminds us, consumers have been kicking off their holiday shopping early in order to spread out their budgets and avoid the stress of holiday shopping. This year, spurred by inflation, 46% of holiday shoppers said they planned to browse or buy before November.

For consumers living paycheck to paycheck, spreading out purchases makes sense. But how does shopping early save them money?

39% say the prices and promotions are too good to pass up.

This number is up from last year, by the way, which makes sense. To consumers looking to save, the right promotion is irresistible. “Consumers are feeling the pressure of inflation and higher prices,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, “but they remain resilient and continue to engage in commerce.”

And they love promotions, he forgot to add. In fact, Blackhawk Network research found this nugget:

46% said announcements of sales and promotions

are what triggered them to start holiday shopping.1

What and Where They’re Buying

If you’ve read any of our blogs, downloaded any of our ebooks or attended any of our webinars, you already know the answer to this question:

What is the #1 gift consumers want to receive this holiday season?

Gift cards-for the 16th year in a row.

Fortunately for all those gift card hungry consumers, gift cards are easily purchased online and instores. Which leads us to our last insight from the NRF survey:

What are the top 4 places consumers plan to make their holiday purchases?

  1. 1. Online (56%)
  2. 2. Discount store (48%)
  3. 3. Department store (47%)
  4. 4. Grocery store (45%)

 

Fortunately for all those holiday gift shoppers, gift cards are a prominent fixture (both figuratively and literally) in all four of those places.

Quick Gift Card Promotions Talk

Based on these findings from NRF and our own research and experience, we know that people love gift cards. We also know that, in today's economy, they’re looking for promotions to stretch every holiday shopping dollar. Luckily, Blackhawk Network has powerful promotional capabilities that can tie these things together easily and effectively.

Here are a few reminders of the power of gift card promotions:

74% of Americans say promotions are a top factor

when deciding where and what to buy online.2

And:

Brands that don’t run gift card promotions

miss out on an average of 37% of annual revenue.3

Don’t fret, our retailer friend; it’s not too late to plan a digital promotion for this holiday season, especially with eGifts being the perfect solution for your last-minute shoppers.

But to fully take advantage of this opportunity, now’s the time to plan your promotional calendar for 2023. Besides the winter holidays, there are other major shopping (spending) periods like Mother’s Day, Graduation, Easter, back-to-school and more. Which ones you choose depends on your brand and your brand’s goals.

You can also make up your own holiday; promotions are a great way to generate business during typically slow periods.

Here are a few types of promotions to choose from:

If a shopper buys a $50 gift card (for themselves or as a gift), they get a $10 gift card free.

  • Buy One, Get One If a shopper buys a $50 gift card, they get a $10 gift card for free.
  • Buy One, Get Points If a shopper buys a $50 gift card, they get a certain number of loyalty points free.
  • Buy One, Get Free Product For each $50 gift card purchase, you give the shopper a stocking stuffer or other gift
  • Buy One and Donate If the shopper buys a $50 gift card, you make a $10 donation to a nonprofit organization

Talk to Blackhawk Network About 2023

All of us at Blackhawk Network wish you a happy holiday season and hope you bring in as many of these NRF-predicted dollars as possible. But it’s important to be planning your promotions for next year, too-and Blackhawk Network can help. As a pioneer in the industry and a worldwide leader in payments and gift cards, we know how to help you and your gift card program succeed.

Click here to get started or call 866.219.7533.


  1. 1. 2022 Holiday Branded Pay Study, Blackhawk Network, 2022
  2. 2. RetailMeNot Incrementality Study, 2018
  3. 3. Blackhawk Network Data Analysis
Global BHN - Start A Conversation