Holiday Shoppers Feeling Less Festive Plan to Delay Spending to Later in the Season, Reports Circana


Despite increasing financial concern, 58% of holiday shoppers plan to spend as much as last year.

CHICAGO, Oct. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The majority of holiday shoppers say they plan on spending about the same as last year, but negative feelings about the economy and personal finances are impacting their purchase intentions, according to a recent holiday purchase intentions consumer survey from Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group. Consumers plan to spend an average of $754 on holiday shopping this year, which is below last year’s spending intentions. Financial concerns will likely play an even bigger role in when holiday shopping takes place. As a result, 2023 holiday season spending is expected to come close to last year’s results, but may fall short by as much as 2.5% during the traditional season which includes November and December, with a slightly improved outlook when the season is expanded to include October.

“The consumer is softly thinking about spending less this holiday season,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for Circana. “Consumers know they will need to spend more to get what they want, and are prepared to do so. But, they are also cautious about spending too much, and will need to continue to prioritize their purchases through the holidays.”


Festive feelings have taken a hit, with fewer consumers looking forward to the holiday season.

  • The number of consumers who view the holidays as a break from the world’s realities, and those who get into the spirit of the season by going out shopping have both declined 5% compared to last year.
  • More holiday shoppers rate their personal financial situation as fair or poor than last year, now 43%.
  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers rate the state of the economy as fair or poor, up slightly from last year.
  • Almost half (48%) of holiday shoppers point to rising costs and other expenses as a reason they plan on spending less this year.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of holiday shoppers plan to buy all of their holiday gifts on sale this year.

Holiday shopping is already off to a later start this year.

  • More than 1 in 5 consumers (21%) have either already started or finished their holiday shopping, but that number is down 12% from the same time last year.
  • The number of holiday shoppers planning on waiting to start this year’s holiday shopping much later in the season is up 8% from last year, with 21% saying they won’t start until early December or will even wait till the last minute.
  • Delays in holiday spending started early, with fewer shoppers taking advantage of summer promotions to get a jump start on the season’s shopping (down to 24% from 26% last year).
  • Early fall promotions will have less of an impact on holiday spending, with less than half (49%) of consumers planning to do holiday shopping during these retail events.
  • More holiday shoppers have their eye on Black Friday, with 23% identifying it as the time when they think they will get the best deals.

“After a year of continued retail declines, this year’s consumer intentions bring tidings of both good cheer and holiday stress as retailers and manufacturers wait to see if sales will indeed reach last year’s results,” added Cohen. “Conflicted spending apprehension from the consumer, combined with the potential for a three-week long last-minute spending surge in December, makes Holiday 2023 a complex one to plan for and measure.”


About Circana
Circana is the leading advisor on the complexity of consumer behavior. Through unparalleled technology, advanced analytics, cross-industry data and deep expertise, we provide clarity that helps almost 7,000 of the world’s leading brands and retailers take action and unlock business growth. We understand more about the complete consumer, the complete store, and the complete wallet so our clients can go beyond the data to apply insights, ignite innovation, meet consumer demand and outpace the competition. Learn more at

Janine Marshall
[email protected]

CONTACT: Janine Marshall Circana 5166252356 [email protected] 

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