8 Retail Shifts Shaping the Holidays


  • There’s renewed consumer optimism this holiday season. Explore eight trends reshaping holiday retail from spending shifts to evolving brand loyalties.
  • From the allure of personalized offers and the resurgence of coupon-driven purchases to a notable uptick in festive dining out, discover the key insights driving the 2023 holiday retail season.

With several holiday seasons in the rearview mirror that were quite unlike any we’ve previously known — we now see light at the end of the tunnel.

According to our recently released 2023 Retail TrendWatch report, there’s a palpable optimism in the air. This report uncovers shifts that are reshaping the holiday retail landscape. As we assess these key findings, we see consumers yearning for the merry and bright traditions of yesteryears, although with a fresh, contemporary twist. From the resurgence of Black Friday to the preference for experiential gifting, here’s an insight-driven journey through the eight pivotal trends impacting this year’s holiday season.

1. A Brighter Financial Outlook, Yet a Keen Eye on the Purse Strings

One of the most hopeful insights from this year’s TrendWatch report is the expected increase in holiday spending for 2023. A notable portion of surveyed consumers express intentions to elevate their holiday expenditure. However, it’s not just about splurging — there’s also been a marked decrease in the number of consumers planning to curb holiday spending compared to 2022.

25% of surveyed consumers plan to elevate their holiday expenditure

Vericast awareness-to-action study, april 2023

2. Experiences Over Materials: The New Gifting Paradigm Gift-giving, a hallmark of the holiday season, is undergoing a transformation. A significant segment of consumers, especially among millennial parents, now favor gifting experiences over tangible items. This shift is a testament to the evolving perception of what constitutes a ‘meaningful’ gift.

3. Holiday Dining: From Home Kitchens to Restaurants
The holidays have always been synonymous with culinary indulgence. But as we look at evolving preferences, dining out during the festive season has found renewed favor among consumers. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • A Generational Shift: Data suggests a marked shift in dining preferences this holiday season. Interestingly, younger demographics, such as Generation Z and millennials, are leading the charge.
  • Millennial Parents Take the Lead: A significant number of millennial parents are choosing restaurants over their home kitchens for holiday feasts.
  • Local Love: A large number of consumers are emphasizing the importance of supporting local eateries this festive season. Beyond just food, there’s a strong sentiment of community upliftment.

For a detailed look at these trends, delve into our flipbook, where we dive deep into the fascinating world of holiday dining choices.

4. A New Approach to Holiday Shopping: All Year Round!
The hunt for holiday deals is taking on a new shape. A considerable segment of consumers now shops throughout the year for the festive season, while many are opting to purchase gifts (55%) as they stumble upon deals, shifting away from the age-old tradition of waiting for specific shopping days.

Early Elves: 51% of consumers surveyed plan to shop earlier in the year to spread out holiday expenses.

Vericast awareness-to-action study, april 2023

5. Brand Loyalty: Decking the Halls of Change
In today’s dynamic retail landscape, brand loyalty is undergoing a significant transformation. Here’s a glimpse into the changing consumer sentiment:

  • Declining Brand Loyalty: Surveys results show an unmistakable change in consumer loyalty toward stores and brands. The landscape is changing, and brands must be ready to respond.
  • The Power of Personalization: While there’s a clear dip in brand loyalty, opportunities are far from lost. The secret to winning consumers back? Personalized offers and tailored experiences. Brands poised to tailor their offerings to individual preferences stand a better chance of retaining and even growing their customer base.

Unlock Loyalty in 2023: 56% of Consumers Crave Personalized Offers!

Vericast awareness-to-action study, april 2023

The Motive Behind the Move: This change doesn’t come out of the blue. With the uncertainties of recent years and the ever-expanding excess of options available to consumers, there’s been a natural gravitation toward value-driven shopping. The emphasis is on getting the best bang for one’s buck. For a deeper understanding and more insights on this trend, download our 2023 TrendWatch report.

6. The Black Friday Revival: A Nostalgic Resurgence
In an age where online shopping reigns supreme, younger demographics express a pronounced nostalgia for traditional Black Friday shopping — indicating that the tactile experience of shopping, the hustle and bustle, still has its quirky charm.

7. Brick-and-Mortar’s Sensory Allure
In-store shopping continues to maintain its appeal, even amidst modern conveniences. Here’s snapshot of what’s beckoning people back to brick-and-mortar:

  • Trying on for Size: Consumers value the tactile experience of physically trying on clothing and footwear before buying.
  • Tantalizing Tastes and Textures: The power of in-store samples is not to be underestimated as many shoppers appreciate this hands-on advantage.
  • Personalized Service: The irreplaceable human element of in-person service and support, remains a critical element of the in-store shopping experience.
  • More Than Just Looks: Being able to touch and even smell food items is important to consumers, highlighting the multisensory experience physical stores can provide.
  • Special In-Store Promotions: Exclusive in-store discounts and offers play a significant role in drawing consumers into physical stores.

There is a true dynamic shift underway. Consumers are embracing the convenience of online shopping while still absolutely cherishing the experiential aspects of physical retail.

Sara Thomsen, Senior Manager, Client Strategy, Vericast

These factors are a testament to the enduring appeal of physical shopping, where consumers can engage with products in a tangible, experiential manner. Explore the full scope of our TrendWatch flipbook.

8. Balancing Celebration and Economy

“Discounts and coupons are all seen as rewards. Many shoppers simply will not purchase unless they feel like they’re getting a deal.”

Chip West, Director of Category Strategy, National Sales, Vericast

As the holiday spirit rises, there’s a clear emphasis on balancing festive joy with financial practicality. Here’s a brief overview of how consumers are actively seeking value this holiday season:

  • Mailed-In Savings: A considerable number of consumers identified coupons arriving via mail or newspaper as their top method for learning about holiday promotions and discounts.
  • Digital Notifications: Email notifications stand as a strong digital channel, with many shoppers keeping an eye on their inboxes to stay informed about the latest deals.
  • Online Discounts: Scouring the web for online coupons or discounts remains a popular method of bagging holiday savings.
  • Traditional Advertisements: Cable or traditional TV advertisements haven’t lost their charm, with many shoppers relying on them to discover holiday promotions.
  • Printed Promotions: Never underestimate the power of print. Catalogs and print ads arriving via mail or newspaper still sway consumers.

This insight underscores the importance of a multichannel approach for retailers. With consumers actively seeking promotions, discounts, and coupons, it’s evident that offering value is paramount in capturing the discerning shopper’s attention and loyalty this holiday season. For the full picture, including highlighted data, emerging trends, and insightful analysis, turn to our TrendWatch flipbook.

At Vericast, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of understanding these industry trends and shifts in consumer behavior. As your partner in navigating these evolving times, we’re here to enrich your holiday marketing strategies, ensuring they’re not just proficient but also resonate deeply with your target audience. If you’re a marketing decision-maker seeking to revitalize your approach or amplify your reach, even on a restricted budget, these insights are your roadmap.

Stay ahead, stay informed, and most importantly, let’s create holiday campaigns that truly matter!

Unwrap the trends shaping retail’s future. Download the 2023 Retail TrendWatch, “A Joyful Return to the Holiday Spirit.”

Source: Vericast Awareness-to-Action Study, April 2023 (n = 1,836)