Giving gifts around the holiday season is an age-old tradition that spans many cultures, regions, and religions. We've grown accustomed to the trend of friends, family, employers, and businesses taking the opportunity to send a present to different recipients during the holidays. From a gift basket, accessories, holiday themed care packages, etc., whether big or small, gifting is a powerful act of kindness that solidifies relationships with anyone.
Over the last few years, B2B organizations have started following these holiday gifting traditions as well. Whether that's to welcome a new customer, incentivize a prospect to take a meeting, or simply to strengthen the bond of remote teams, it's crucial that companies understand the current state of the holiday gifting industry.
We've conducted research and have compiled a comprehensive report on corporate holiday gifting statistics and trends that will help guide any B2B professional in this upcoming season of giving.
Holiday shopping predictions and holiday gifting trends for 2022
Brick and mortar businesses are back
Data from the US Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division suggests that e-commerce sales were up 14.2% in 2021. However, for the first time in a while, brick and mortar sales grew faster than e-commerce, with physical stores growing at 18.5% versus e-commerce growth of 14.2%. This is a good indicator that the retail industry and consumer buying habits are returning to pre-pandemic standards.
Seasonal spending is set to start early
The increase in digital shopping over the past few years, with 'constant commerce' becoming more prevalent, has ultimately led to another year where early seasonal spending is setting in. With the holiday season approaching, it's highly anticipated that 'constant commerce' will continue to build up throughout the “last minute” shopping sprees.
Studies on Black Friday say that although consumers aren't always on their phones purchasing items, they always decide what they'll buy while browsing for items. Data shows that it takes a new customer about two weeks to make their purchase decision during Black Friday.
People will discover more seasonal products
The holiday season is always prime time for people to discover products and brands. Shoppers usually find themselves breaking their shopping habits to buy items they have never purchased before as celebration and gifting.
This year it's expected that discovery will be higher as consumers spend more time debating their next purchase. They'll open themselves to new brands and products. Data shows that:
39% of people discover new products through search engines
33% discover products in physical stores
32% of people discover new products on brand websites and apps
26% of people find out about new products through online ads
Live streaming and social media will play a bigger role than ever along with video in holiday shopping
New research from Sensor Tower found that live streaming shopping apps such as YouTube and TikTok experienced a 77% year-over-year growth rate in just the first five months of 2022. Studies show that consumers are more receptive to ads when they watch videos with:
57% researching about the products they saw in the ad
53% visit the ad's website
More than half will buy the product they saw in the ad
According to Deloitte, 87% of Generation Z say they expect to be inspired by social media for holiday gifts. Influencer advertising via live streams has never grown at a faster rate and it’s likely that many millennials and Generation Z consumers will purchase holiday items influenced by this content.
More expenditure trends and statistics
According to McKinsey & Company, 80% of shoppers have changed their shopping behavior
Holiday sales in 2021 grew 14.1% to a record $886.7B
Online and other non-store sales were up 11.3% to $218.9B
In 2021, over half of consumers started their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving
50% of Americans prefer to have cash instead of receiving a gift
51% of American shoppers planned to spend the same amount they did in 2019 on holiday gifts for 2020
About 40% of seasonal shoppers intend to spend less money this year on holiday festivities, while 8% of shoppers plan to spend more
More than half of customers don't want to do retail shopping over health risk concerns
73% of consumers said they intend on having their items delivered to them
30% of American shoppers who prefer in-store shopping say they do so for the sensory experience, with 23% claiming they purchase in-store since they aren't sure what to buy
74% of people say their events will include a few people
On the other hand, 47% of people thought the holiday events would be canceled
Average holiday season spending
In 2019, the average American intended on spending $942 on holiday gifting
In 2020, the average American planned on spending $1,047 during the holiday season on gifting
In 2021, the average American spent around $998 during the holidays
58% of Americans decide on their spending based on their relationship with the gift recipient, with 28% of them basing their holiday spending on whether or not the recipient is family or not
Most Americans spend more than half of their holiday budget on clothing and accessories
Holiday budget statistics
10% of Americans factor in the amount of money a gift recipient uses on them when budgeting for the recipient's gift
18% of Americans want to pay off their debt
21% of consumers said they be giving out fewer gifts
General holiday spending statistics
25% of American shoppers claim they are usually done with gift shopping by the time October rolls around
Americans spend about $100 on Halloween, with more than $8 billion being spent on decorations, candy, and costumes for the holiday
In 2021, the average host for Thanksgiving in America spent $391.60, a decrease of 18% over 202
Despite the economic outlook, shoppers are not relenting on holiday budgets. However, gifting trends now seem to favor online holiday shopping instead of physical stores, with Amazon leading the pack of preferred online stores. The following section dives into nine key areas that feature more important stats to help you get a better grasp of the state of the gifting industry.
1. Holiday gift search and purchase statistics
A study by Criteo showed that Americans start their holiday gift search and purchase as early as September. By November, most of them have their gifts bought, with only a fifth waiting until December. The research also found that eCommerce sites and apps now account for the majority of the searches and purchases at 71% and 86%, respectively, as opposed to physical stores.
Social networks also witness a sizable number of searches, with 32% of respondents saying they'll start their gift search on social media. Search engines come closely behind social with 27%, while 22% said they would ask their family and friends.
The statistics are a departure from the holiday season tradition, where most shoppers would wait for Black Friday. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, officially marks the holiday shopping season. Despite the attractive discounts that characterize the season, 58% of the respondents said they wouldn't have to wait for Black Friday to buy gifts if their favorite retailers offered discounts.
2. Holiday gift expenditure statistics
Generally, Americans' spending habits vary depending on household income. A study by Statista showed that from 2004 to 2020, Americans across different demographics spent $502 on average on holiday gifts for family members, while gifts to friends and co-workers accounted for $80 and $32, respectively.
Similar statistics by Gallup estimated the Christmas holiday gifting spend for 2020 at least $1000 among 32% Americans, $500 to $999 (21% of the shoppers), $100 to $499 (29%), while 2% planned to spend less than $100.
High-income earners remained the major spenders, with 2020 estimates at $1291 on average and the lowest-earners (less than $40,000) spending $516. Also, most of the respondents (57%) said they planned to spend the same amount they had spent in previous holidays, while only a small segment had intentions of spending more or less.
3. Sources of gift ideas statistics
According to McKinsey, 47% of shoppers need holiday gift ideas. One of their surveys found in-store search as the leading source of inspiration, with 65% of Americans saying they browse physical stores to get gift ideas. Scouring search engines and retailer websites came second, followed by newspaper advertisements, flyers, and catalogs at 40%.
A Statista research also highlighted the three as the leading sources, with in-store search taking the lead followed by retailer's website then guides and magazines.
4. Who do people gift during the holiday
Statistics by YouGov show that during the holiday season, shoppers buy gifts for eight people on average. While some gift less than five people, others have budgets for even over 50 people. The recipients are either parents, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, customers, employees, etc.
In another research by Surveymonkey, 63% of the respondents said they buy gifts for their parents, 53% gift children, while 51% for siblings. Those who purchase gifts for friends constituted 24%, co-workers, 23%, and customer gifters were only 8%.
The majority of the respondents (68%) said giving is one of their love languages. Furthermore, (71%) said that when it comes to holiday gifting, being thoughtful is what counts, an aspect that makes cards a popular gift. 59% of the gifters noted that they often accompany their gift with a card.
5. Most popular holiday gift statistics
Gift cards remain the most popular holiday gifts in the U.S., with 48% of gift shoppers intending to buy them, surprisingly exceeding clothes, which come second.
Particularly, the 2020 holiday season showed a shift in the gifting trends with an 80% increase in eGift (digital gift card) sales, according to Blackhawk Network. They link the exponential growth to the consumer response to the pandemic. But the report projects a growing trend in digital gifting, considering 2019 had also recorded a 7% growth in holiday gift card sales.
Additional holiday gift trends to consider for 2022
67% of consumers consider the use of sustainable materials to be an important purchasing factor (McKinsey & Company)
Total alcohol sales have decreased by 6.7% while non-alcohol products are seeing a 19% increase (NielsenIQ)
Consumers are purchasing more beauty supplies, with 49% of shoppers spending more than $50 online on beauty products in 2021, an uptick from 16% in 2019
6. Company holiday gifting statistics
A survey by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) showed steady growth in companies' holiday gifting trends, with 10% of the companies interviewed saying they would spend more. However, most of them (79%) said they would spend the same as previous years, while 11% expressed intentions of cutting their budget.
In addition, 73% of the companies said they would distribute branded gifts. 42% planned to gift workers, of which 75% said they would include all their employees, while 37% planned to gift prospects and clients.
Three of the most popular gifts among the companies were gift cards (44% of the companies), apparel (39%), and food/beverages (25%). Other gifts on their list included; drinkware, desk accessories, calendars, writing instruments, electronics, bags, sporting goods, jewelry, and watches.
7. What influences holiday gifting trends
36% of shoppers interviewed by Criteo said that shipping costs are a primary consideration when buying online. This comes surprisingly before promotions, with 35% of the shoppers mentioning it as a major influence.
Other influencing factors include; friends and family recommendations (28%), shipping dates (23%), new releases (14%), brand values (11%), and relevant advertising coming last at (10%).
Hopefully, this round-up of holiday gifting statistics has given you some inspiration as you plan out your gifting campaigns this upcoming season.
If you're looking for ways to integrate gifting into your go-to-market communications, be sure to check out Postal's Global Offline Engagement solution. By diversifying marketing channels, Postal customers see a 4x growth in pipeline from personalized experiences that increase sales velocity, drive ROI, and create lasting impressions. Request a demo now to explore hundreds of unique offerings in the Postal Marketplace that will take your season's greetings to the next level.
Sleigh your gifting this holiday season
Grab your copy of our 2022 Holiday Catalog for more festive ideas and inspiration.
Rich is a B2B marketing enthusiast with a passion for storytelling through relatable content and memorable experiences. Rich was one of the first founding team members of Postal when he started as an intern in 2019 and now holds the Content Marketing Manager role.