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86% of U.S. Consumers Share Same Holiday Shopping Concerns

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Due to global supply chain disruptions and shipping delays, consumers have been warned to do their holiday shopping as early as possible. Otherwise, Santa will be unmerrily late this year.

According to recent research from Bluedot — a San Francisco-based customer arrival platform — 86% of U.S. shoppers are worried about supply chain issues, labor shortages and lack of products. The concerns among respondents run the gamut from inventory shortages (60%) to pricing increases (59%) to empty shelves (43%) to long wait times and lines (40%).

Making it work: Nearly half of consumers opt to shop online this holiday season

To avoid potential shopping woes, 45% of U.S. consumers say they’ll make more purchases online, while 31% will shop more on mobile.

To check off folks on their gift lists, nearly 3 in 10 (28%) consumers will look for alternative items. Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) plan to hit stores earlier, while 20% will buy more gift cards or experiential presents, like skydiving or kayaking.

9 in 10 plan to use mobile apps this holiday season

While 9 in 10 Bluedot respondents say they’ll use mobile apps for their holiday shopping this year, 73% plan to do at least half of their shopping this way. And 64% intend to download at least one retail app.

In terms of generations, 56% of millennials and 49% of Gen Xers plan to do 75% or more of their shopping through mobile apps. Meanwhile, 40% of Gen Zers and 36% of millennials will lean on the apps more because of inventory shortages.

Among the reasons mobile apps are favored, 57% of respondents cite them as fast and easy to use. Other explanations from consumers include:

  • They can’t locate items in the store (38%)
  • They can check in-store inventory (27%)
  • They can rack up loyalty points (25%)

Younger generations are downloading more apps, with nearly 1 in  4 Gen Zers (24%) and 21% of millennials planning to download three or more new retail apps this holiday season.

As for social media platforms, 32% of respondents plan to buy holiday gifts through social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Snapchat. Gen Zers are the most likely demographic to buy holiday gifts through these platforms at 42%.

Fewer consumers plan curbside pickups; most plan in-store pickups

While curbside pickup remains common for consumers picking up online orders, interest is declining. According to the Bluedot survey, just 25% of shoppers are happy with curbside pickup. And while 2 in 3 respondents plan on using curbside pickup this year, this is a dip from 80% in 2020.

The general sentiment is that curbside pickup is fraught with issues. Among them:

  • Excessive wait times (42%)
  • Lack of acknowledgment upon arrival (30%)
  • Inaccurate orders (26%)
  • Poor instructions or not given any instructions on where to park (22%)

While fewer consumers will choose curbside pickup, many will buy online and pick up their purchases in store. In 2021, 79% report they’ll utilize in-store pickup, though a slight dip from 81% in 2020.

In terms of generations, 86% of millennials intend to pick up items in store during the holidays. On the other hand, one-third of baby boomers don’t plan on going this route at all.

The grievances about picking up in store include:

  • Too many people in line (46%)
  • Long wait times (42%)
  • Inaccurate orders (24%)
  • Not being able to locate orders (14%)

Those trying to stay on top of their holiday spending while on a budget can certainly benefit from getting an early start this year.

Further, consumers can look for discounts and promo codes online. They can also make the most of cashback rewards cards by redeeming points for gift cards or to put toward experiential gifts such as travel.

Methodology: BlueDot commissioned SurveyMonkey to survey 1,058 American adults 18 and older, fielded Sept. 28-29, 2021. Among all respondents, 30% were baby boomers, 29% were Gen Xers, 26% were millennials and 15% were Gen Zers.