According to Adobe, the 2022 holiday spending season kicked off with retailers raking in a record high of $9 billion in online revenue, up 2.3% year-over-year. Analysts anticipate last-mile retail holidays like Green Monday, the second Monday of December, and Super Saturday, the weekend before Christmas, will see additional e-commerce activity, as retail spending YTD gained 5.2% in November.
As consumers cautiously scale back on spending, there has been a shift toward intentional retail therapy. Intentional shopping encourages thoughtful habits like taking one’s time and being fully present in the holiday shopping experience to avoid making impulsive decisions. Forty percent of U.S. holiday shoppers say recent shopping experiences have them reconsidering their spending habits. From shopping earlier for other milestones (i.e., anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc.) to embracing flexible payment plans like Buy Now Pay Later to cover the debt.
“NPD predicted 36% of consumers’ would splurge on consumer electronics this year, with consumer purchase intent specifically for smartphones, headphones, tablets/e-readers, and smartwatches.”
Nine billion dollars is a chunk of change. To find out where consumers spend their hard-earned money, we took a deep dive into Google’s Top Retail Search Trends over the last 30 days. At the time of publication of this post, video games, clothing, fragrance, and electronics were among the top categories.
- Although most video gamers skew 18 to 34, it is fast becoming an activity that brings families together. Sixty percent of consumers surveyed by Xbox cited playing video games as a way to reset and relax during the holidays. Video gaming purchases surged on Black Friday with Fortnite, Roblox, Bluey and Disney’s Encanto! topping wish lists. December’s presentation of The 2022 Game Awards drove sales for new releases of winners Elden Ring, Sony’s God of War Ragnarök, and interactive game As Dusk Falls.
- The athleisurewear trend has blurred the lines between everyday apparel and business casual, infiltrating designer collections. This year we saw heavy collaborations between luxury designers and athletic fashion brands, like Gucci and Adidas, Burberry and Supreme, and most recently, Fila and Colombian-born French designer Haider Ackermann. Now in vogue, work leisure apparel was one of the most searched-for categories in the clothing sector, with boutique brands Vuori and CUTS leading the charge. Not to be upstaged by knitwear, festive apparel saw a recent surge in searches thanks to Page Six-worthy trends inspired by several sequin-wearing celebrities, including Sam Smith, Kelly Rowland and Catherine, Princess of Wales.
- Prestige fragrance brands received a boost from the pandemic and continue to experience growth in sales, with a 4% increase in the last two months leading up to the 2022 holiday season. The category outperformed overall discretionary general merchandise spending during critical weeks, including those shopping days following Thanksgiving weekend.
- NPD predicted 36% of consumers’ would splurge on consumer electronics this year, with consumer purchase intent specifically for smartphones, headphones, tablets/e-readers, and smartwatches. According to Google Search, digital photo frames, drones and laptops rounded up those top electronics, followed by models of 4K LED/LCD TVs recommended for gaming. And for those Gen-Z and Millennial social impact shoppers, consumer electronics marketplace BackMarket hopes to take a share of the market with its A-list of certified refurbished tech.
In other news, sustainable brands continue to make retail waves. On the apparel front, specialty sites ThredUp, Poshmark and DePop are pushing secondhand as a viable gift category. Consumers are aligned with that messaging, as the search term “unique thrift store” appeared in 360% of search queries in the U.S. last week alone.