How shoppers will spend their money this holiday season

holiday shopping trends 2018

The holiday shopping season is here. Spending is up, and technology natives like millennials and Gen Z are driving consumer holiday shopping trends around omnichannel retailing, mobile payments and click-and-collect shopping.

According to PwC, Canadian consumers spending more this holiday season. Canadian consumers plan to spend slightly more than they did last year, hitting an average of CA$1,563 each (up 3.7%). In addition, more Canadians anticipate their holiday outlay to stay the same as the year before (58% in 2018 vs. 53% in 2017).

PwC’s 2018 holiday retail spending forecast explores the shopping behaviours retailers need to be aware of over the next few months, based on a national survey of more than 1,000 Canadian consumers across generational groups.

PwC also says that demographics divide in-store and online trends
The majority of Canadian consumers love the in-store experience: Nearly two-thirds consider brick-and-mortar retail their primary holiday shopping channel, with the rest, focused on online shopping through desktops, mobile devices or smart home technology. Unsurprisingly, most millennials (51%) think of online shopping first, which is in line with US consumers overall (50%).

What’s more, three out of ten Canadians plan to shop across the border, either in-store, online or across both channels—with a whopping 38% of millennial dads visiting US retailers online.

How Canadians get inspired and check prices
Nearly half of consumers prefer to visit stores to find inspiration and compare prices when holiday shopping. But for millennials, this preference shifts to Amazon and Google. For cross-border shoppers, they’re focused on good deals and a wider product range, especially for apparel (49%) and electronics (48%).

Retailers need to reimagine their in-store experiences and provide intuitive omnichannel environments to satisfy customer needs—and our holiday survey shows those who shop both online and in-store tend to spend more than single-channel shoppers.

Online shopping drives new fulfilment and payment trends
Most Canadians prefer home delivery after shopping online, but price and convenience are encouraging many of them to pick up orders in person. The rise of condo living and increased urbanization make last-mile delivery more difficult, so shipping channels need to evolve with customer needs.

Millennials prefer a personal touch to gift giving
While buying gift cards for others is on the rise, millennials are more inclined to purchase and want to receive physical items as gifts. For example, 38% of Canadians, compared to 21% of millennials, plan to buy gift cards for others. Millennials are also more optimistic about their spending plans, with 38% planning to spend more than they did the year before, compared to 25% overall.