Holiday shopping season underway

Inflation and early season promotions have had many people wondering what shape this holiday shopping season will take.  But there’s ample time for savvy home and housewares sellers to capitalize on holiday spending.

Consumers have more shopping options with fewer COVID-related concerns this year, which could mitigate the influence of early-season promotions, according to The NPD Group. In addition, many people will gather with family and friends again this year, leading to higher home and housewares product consumption.

Joe Derochowski, vice president and industry advisor for home and home improvement at The NPD Group, said: “Regardless, there are some things that are always last-minute holiday purchases, like massagers, electric toothbrushes and other high-quality products in the personal care category. This year’s timing of Christmas and New Year’s Eve also creates opportunity for more entertaining needs later in the season, further spreading out the holiday spending timeline.”

Inflation’s Impact

As inflation and other economic news comes in, some consumers are taking a “wait and see” approach to holiday spending.

CivicScience’s weekly Holiday Tracker found holiday gift spending well below expected levels during the last two weeks in October, but spending rebounded over the first two weeks in November.  As of November 14, it’s just one percentage point below this time last year.

Capturing Holiday Spending

Sellers of home and housewares goods should consider emphasizing products that address consumers’ challenges today such as stretching food dollars amid inflation. This can include anything that makes cooking at home easier, reduces food waste and cuts back on restaurant spending.

“Don’t underestimate the impact of return to the office,” says Derochowski. As more people are returning to commuting and working away from home, they’ve got less time for cooking and cleaning, he says, and are in real need of convenient and time-saving solutions at home. As people head back to the office, there’s also a renewed desire for portable food storage and beverageware.

And what about all those holiday gatherings we’re looking forward to resuming this year? Hosts are likely to be looking for a variety of new items to help them entertain again.

Connecting with Shoppers on More Than Price

Though many consumers are looking for deals this holiday season, slashing prices may not be the only way to attract their attention.

Emily Laumer, syndicated research lead at CivicScience, recommends that retailers prioritize consumer emotions. This can include anything from easing their concerns about product availability after last year’s inventory woes to tapping into their excitement for celebrating once again with friends and family.

While e-commerce will remain significant, many consumers are looking forward to returning to shopping in person this year. To capture those shoppers, retailers might want to amp up in-person experiences, including opportunities to touch and feel products. An inviting holiday atmosphere and good customer service will be especially appreciated this year (as will getting to avoid shipping costs/delays).

by Rachel Crippin Clark for the International Housewares Association

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