Pandemic Period Prompts a More Mindful and Experience-Focused 2021 Holiday Shopping Season

Mental health, self-care, and Black and minority-owned businesses top priorities in Sitecore consumer survey

Sitecore®, the global leader in digital experience management software, today released its Holiday Shopping Trends 2021 report exploring how consumers worldwide intend to recuperate, reflect and experience the holiday this season. More than half (53%) of consumers surveyed plan to make bigger and more mindful holiday purchases this year, fueled in part by the fact that 50% of consumers say they have more savings set aside for the holidays this year compared to last year. Americans are also valuing their mental health following a rough pandemic year, and 43% see self-gifting as a form of therapy.

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Sitecore’s Holiday Shopping Trends 2021 report surfaces insights from consumers around how they’re feeling this holiday season, and their thoughts on gift giving, holiday shopping, and spending. The data arms marketers in categories like retail, travel, automotive, and others with the intelligence they need to deliver winning experiences that satisfy the evolving tastes and demands of consumers.

  • Shift in perspective:
    • 78% of consumers say the pandemic has made them more aware of their own mental health needs, and those of family, friends, and colleagues
    • 71% value travel and appreciate other cultures more now than before the pandemic
    • 86% appreciate time at home and simple pleasures more because of the pandemic
  • Retailers failing minority-owned businesses:
    • 62% of consumers believe it is essential that retailers offer more products from minority-owned businesses, but only 28% report seeing more of them when shopping
  • Buying local and being mindful with purchases is a priority for most:
    • 63% of consumers are willing to pay more for locally made gifts
    • 62% of consumers are annoyed when they find a purchase was made in China when they thought it was a local purchase
    • 78% of consumers stated that the pandemic has made them think more carefully about how they spend their money
  • Self-care now includes self-gifting:
    • 43% of those buying a gift for themselves cite “therapy” as the main reason
    • 36% of consumers would like to emerge from the pandemic with a new wardrobe
    • 22% of consumers would like to gift themselves travel this year
  • Young consumers bringing spending back:
    • 75% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennials are more willing to make big life enhancements post-pandemic
    • 58% of Gen Z will spend more this year; with Boomers (67%) and Gen X (65%) spending about the same as last year
    • 76% of those under the age of 44 stated that following their experiences during the pandemic they now “value travel and appreciate other cultures more”

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“The past 18 months have been extremely challenging – while many are hopeful that a return to normalcy is within reach, the world is still in a state of concern,” said Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neill. “As consumers try to cope and brace for what’s next, they are hopeful that Holiday 2021 will be a bright spot, if not a catalyst for things to come. It’s also heartening to see that all types of consumers want to support their local community, including minority-owned businesses. The industry will need to respond with more offerings from these businesses.”

Certified Futurist and author Crystal Washington added, “The magic word for retailers this 2021 holiday season is ‘Experience.’ Americans have spent the last 18 months reevaluating their priorities. Consumers are focusing on meaningful gifts, future travel, and self-care. As part of this value realigning, consumers are increasingly shopping with brands based on shared values. There is a renewed call to buy local and minority-owned businesses, and buyers are willing to pay more to support these enterprises. Many are willing to pay a premium for the experience of ‘doing good’ while buying gifts for others and themselves. Savvy retailers can leverage this trend by partnering with values-based artists, organizations, and brands. The trick is to create a seamless user experience that makes these items or brands easy to identify and navigate on retail platforms.”

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