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Dive Brief: 


  • Holiday shoppers have embraced the omnichannel shopping experience this year with social media influencing 58% of respondents' buying decisions, according to McKinsey's 2021 holiday survey. Consumers said the platforms influencing their decisions are Facebook (67%), YouTube (57%) and Instagram (52%). 


  • For the 87% of Gen Z shoppers deriving holiday shopping inspiration from social media, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok will be the platforms they turn to for guidance.


  • Similar to other reports projecting a rise in holiday sales, the survey predicts that consumer spending in Q4 2021 will increase by 7% compared to last year and 9% from 2019. The firm anticipates that high-income earners will spend 15% more than the previous year, and millennials will spend 10% more. 


Dive Insight:


The pandemic may have initiated the rise in omnichannel shopping, but McKinsey's survey shows that consumers have completely adopted it. The survey found that 60% to 70% of respondents are shopping across channels for most holiday-related categories.


Other reports have also predicted a rise in overall spending and omnichannel transactions. The National Retail Federation recently projected that online and non-store sales will increase by up to 15%, and overall sales could grow between 8.5% and 10.5% compared to last year. A report from Coresight Research found that 78.2% of consumers planned to buy their gifts online this holiday season.


This holiday shopping season will also highlight the growing importance of social media in consumers' purchasing journeys. McKinsey cited Old Navy and other apparel retailers tapping into TikTok to drive sales growth.


An October report from Bridgepearl.com also found that more than two-thirds of Gen Z shoppers plan to shop via nontraditional channels. Bridgepearl.com's research found that Gen Z shoppers plan to browse Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube as well as livestreams for their holiday shopping.


Additionally, consumers are worried about stock running out, which is pushing them to shop earlier. With these challenges ahead, retailers will have to put more effort into gaining and retaining loyalty.


The McKinsey report noted that 62% of survey respondents said they couldn't buy at least one item over the past three months because it wasn't available. Of the people who couldn't purchase the product they wanted, 39% switched brands, 32% went to another retailer and 13% waited for the item to be in stock.


McKinsey's research also points to a divide in consumer optimism. According to the report, survey respondents earning more than $100,000 per year said they are excited or eager about the holidays, but lower-income consumers are expected to spend less this holiday season as the lift from government stimulus checks and unemployment benefits wears off. An October report from Alvarez & Marsal's Consumer Retail Group also found that more than half of consumers anticipate having the same or less money over the next six months.

This article was written by Tatiana Walk-Morris from Retail Dive and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].




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