DMS 2020 Holiday Shopping Survey Details Trends Across Consumer Segments

November 19, 2020 Sarah Cavill

The holidays are upon us, and this year is a year unlike any other — for shoppers, brands and retailers. And, despite not knowing how this holiday season will play out, data and analytics about behaviors and preferences can help brands get in front of consumers at the right moments. Recently, Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) conducted an online survey of 250+ respondents, aged 18 and above, across the U.S. The DMS 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends Survey ascertained proprietary data that can help brands and retailers make thoughtful, informed decisions based on consumer shopping trends this holiday season. 

Although Some Audiences Plan To Get Their Holiday Shopping Done Early, Many Still Plan To Shop Last Minute

Many retail insiders predicted holiday shopping would start early, and in many cases that’s been true. (For example, Amazon Prime Day was a massive success.) However, the DMS 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends Survey found that shoppers are split with regard to when they’ll do the bulk of their holiday shopping:

  • 34.4% before Black Friday
  • 32.3% between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday
  • 33.3% after Cyber Monday.

The tendency to shop last minute differs across gender lines. Men predict they are more likely to shop later in the season, with 39.8% planning to do the bulk of their shopping after Cyber Monday, while women appear more likely to complete the bulk of holiday shopping early, with 76.7% planning to be done by Cyber Monday. The DMS holiday shopping survey results also revealed generational differences in shopping timelines. Seniors plan to shop later in the season, with 43.9% planning to do the majority of their shopping after Cyber Monday, while younger shoppers (aged 18-34) state they are more likely to shop early, with 34.4% planning to shop before Black Friday.



Consumers Are Planning To Take Advantage Of Ecommerce And In-Person Shopping This Holiday Season

Two-thirds of survey respondents plan to shop both in-store and online for holiday gifts this year, according to the DMS survey. Interestingly, men were more than twice as likely as women to say they will do all of their holiday shopping in person, with 12.1% of men indicating plans to shop exclusively in stores compared to only 5.0% of women. 72.7% of women plan to do their holiday shopping both in person and online, compared to 60% of men.


Women Shop Online More Than Men, But Online Shopping Is Embraced By Most Shoppers Overall

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents shop online at least once a month, with 31.0% indicating they shop online each week. And, just as women plan to do more of their holiday shopping online than men, women tend to shop online more in general, with 37.2% shopping online weekly, compared to only 25.2% of males.



More Men Than Women Plan To Keep Their Holiday Spending Consistent With Last Year

Likely in response to concerns about the economy and belt-tightening due to a turbulent year, only 40.3% of respondents plan to spend about the same amount or more on gifts this holiday season compared to last year. Men were more open to maintaining or increasing holiday spending, with 29.6% planning to keep their holiday spending consistent with 2019 and 13.0% expecting to spend more this year. For women, 24.3% plan to match their 2019 spending and 12.2% expect to surpass last year’s holiday spending.



Men And Women Have Different Ideas About How To Spend Holiday Budgets

The DMS 2020 Holiday Shopping Trends Survey asked respondents which retail categories they plan to buy from, including clothing, electronics, games/toys, home goods and self-care products. Of those surveyed, nearly half (47.4%) plan to make purchases across all categories, with clothing and electronics ranking as the top two categories. Women are more inclined than men to diversify their purchases, with 54.4% planning to buy across all categories listed, compared to 36.9% of men. The top purchase category for women is clothing (16.5%), while the top category for men is electronics (22.6%).



Social Media Influences Purchasing Decisions For Some Shoppers

Social media is lit up with holiday ads, but the digital channel’s influence on purchase decisions varies among audiences. Overall, 26.6% of respondents indicated they find social media helpful in making purchase decisions, with 58.7% of surveyed women indicating social media’s positive influence on their holiday purchases. Somewhat surprisingly, 56.5% of respondents who indicated they rely on social media to support their holiday shopping decision making are middle aged (35-64).



Understanding Audience Behaviors Can Be Critical To Brand Awareness And Conversions This Holiday Season

Consumer behaviors in 2020 have varied widely depending on what’s happening in the world, and brands and retailers that stayed agile typically stayed ahead. The rise of ecommerce and subsequent switch to online shopping by many consumers will likely have a major impact on this holiday season, while some trends, like frantic last-minute shopping, remain a holiday staple. 

To view the DMS 2020 Holiday Shopping Survey Infographic, click here.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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