Updated: Nov. 19

Tracking Consumer Trends This Holiday Season

The COVID-19 pandemic is still lingering on, impacting the 2021 holiday season in new ways. Some consumers feel safe returning to stores, but many don’t, and are more comfortable embracing newly formed online shopping habits. Supply chain issues are rippling through the country, negatively impacting already-stressed delivery systems, with warning signs that it will get worse before it gets better. And travel plans are up in the air, not because of safety concerns but because of flight cancellations and delays.

We’re tracking consumer trends on these important issues and will be updating this page weekly with new data, analysis and original reporting.

WHAT WE'RE TRACKING THIS WEEK

Winter holiday travel will return at higher levels this year, but it won’t bounce back to pre-pandemic volume: Even among those who always traveled in previous years, more than 1 in 5 say they will stay home for the holidays this year. Read more.

3 in 5 Americans do not plan to book any holiday travel: And of those who plan to travel for the holidays, only 1 in 4 have booked all of their holiday travel and about half still haven’t booked their tickets. Read more.

Black Friday is now an online-first shopping holiday: More consumers plan to shop on Black Friday this year than in 2020, but the lion’s share of these shoppers (78%) will do their deal-hunting online. Gen Z and millennial consumers are most likely to participate overall and substantially more likely to shop online. Read more.

About 50% of those who have started shopping have faced supply chain issues. These include items being out of stock online (51%), in store (50%) or back-ordered or delayed (46%). Read more.

TRACKING SHOPPING RATES

About Half of Consumers Have Started Their Holiday Shopping in Some Capacity
Respondents were asked "How much of your holiday shopping have you already completed?"

Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

Tracking Supply Chain Issues

About Half of Consumers Have Experienced Issues Caused by Delayed or Out-of-Stock Items
The share of respondents who said that they have experienced the following issues since they started holiday shopping:
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

More on this topic: Retailers can retain consumers through stock shortages with proactive recommendations. Consumers facing an out-of-stock holiday gift are just as likely to buy a substitute from the same retailer as they are to jump to a competitor in search of the original item. Read more.

Tracking Channels

Online vs. In Store: How Consumers Are Shopping This Year
Respondents were asked "Thinking about the upcoming holiday season, which of the following best describes you?"
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

More on this topic: People are planning for another pandemic-adjusted holiday season by shopping online more than usual this year. But unlike last year, they’re shopping online because of convenience more than safety concerns. Read more.

Tracking Spending

How Much Are Consumers Planning to Spend?
Respondents were asked how much they expect to spend on gifts this holiday season
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

More on this topic: Morning Consult’s monthly U.S. Consumer Spending report provides a detailed assessment of consumption patterns reported by consumers within a variety of categories of goods and services. Read more.

Tracking Travel

3 in 5 Americans Do Not Plan to Book Any Holiday Travel
Respondents were asked "How much of your holiday travel have you started to book?"
Weekly surveys are conducted among roughly 2,200 U.S. adults and have a margin of error of +/-2%.

More on this topic: Mirroring the travel trends that have defined 2021, travel over the winter holidays will occur at a lower volume than in pre-pandemic years, but millennials will drive nontraditional trips in December. Read more.

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