Klarna’s 2021 Holiday Retail Report Predicts Early Shopping and Increased Budgets

·4 min read

Consumers are getting a head start on holiday shopping this year and according to Klarna’s new holiday report, while 71 percent of shoppers plan to begin buying gifts before December, 22 percent say they’ve already started.

The company’s annual report, which aims to provide brands and retailers with insights on the holiday season ahead, looks at surveys of more than 24,000 U.S. shoppers and its proprietary shopping data from its 20 million consumers nationwide.

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In its report, Klarna found that “taking advantage of holiday sales,” is the primary reason for getting a jump on gift purchasing this year, with 72 percent of consumers citing this reason. And moreover, Klarna’s data shows that nearly half of shoppers anticipate making a “bulk of their purchases” on Black Friday this year, compared to 38 percent who said they will spend the most on Cyber Monday.

However, while Black Friday has traditionally been a physical retail event, 56 percent of shoppers said they plan to make a majority of their Black Friday purchase online, compared to the 23 percent of shoppers who said they will shop mostly in-store on the day and 20 percent who said they will plan to buy online and in-store equally.

When they are shopping in-store, big-box retailers were revealed as the most popular place to shop this holiday season, with 62 percent of consumers looking to these retailers to shop holiday gifts followed by 37 percent planning to shop from department stores and 34 percent saying they will shop at malls. At 44 percent, Gen Zers are the most likely to visit shopping malls this holiday season.

Still, consumers said they have other reasons to shop early beyond sales. Half of shoppers reported they are starting earlier to ensure product availability and 45 percent cited wanting to avoid shipping delays as supply chain issues continue to plague retailers across the country. Nearly 40 percent of consumers also said they will plan to shop early to avoid the last-minute stress.

When they aren’t shopping in-store, social media continues to drive discoverability and purchasing decisions for younger shoppers. Unsurprisingly, 78 percent of Gen Z and 79 percent of Millennials say they have purchased a product after seeing it on social media. Although Klarna’s survey also reveals that these platforms are increasingly influencing older generations as well with 55 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of Baby Boomers also reported they have been influenced by their feeds.

Becoming popular over the pandemic, livestream shopping events are also providing an engaging experience for shoppers. A majority of younger shoppers — about 70 percent of Gen Z and Millennials — say they are interested in the experience.

Meanwhile, Klarna’s findings reveal that more than a third of consumers will also plan to spend more this year, with Gen Z and Millennials leading the way at 57 percent and 53 percent respectively. In comparison, 32 percent of Gen Xers and 12 percent of Baby Boomers said they would increase holiday budgets this year.

“As a significant percentage of consumers plan to begin their holiday shopping early this year, brands should take note that this group plans to spend 16 percent more, on average, than those who start shopping later,” said David Sykes, head of North America at Klarna. “To entice these early birds, retailers should offer some of their best holiday promotions much sooner than usual, while keeping their eyes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which are poised to remain the biggest buying days of the season.”

Klarna’s report shows that a Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Xers are shopping they are more likely to pay for gifts with debit over credit, although the majority are also looking for flexible payment options.

“Shoppers with the biggest budgets are twice as likely to seek out flexible payment options, like Klarna’s interest-free Pay in Four solution,” Sykes said. “Whether shoppers are purchasing in-store or online, 80 percent are expecting a seamless experience with convenient ways to pay.”

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