Why the early-bird shopping? As consumers worldwide face rising prices, they’re buying now to avoid further increases later. Based on our research, nearly half of consumers say rising prices will make them buy earlier than they did last holiday season. 

We track 1.5 billion shoppers to understand what, how, and where they’re buying.

What do these numbers mean for brands and retailers this holiday season? See the breakdown of our most important findings below, along with tips on how to remain competitive this holiday shopping season.

A combination of high demand and low inventory drove down discounts and promotions in 2020 and 2021, resulting in the lowest discounts recorded over the last few years. But discounts are making a comeback. The average global discount rate was 17% in the third quarter, up from 16% a year earlier, with the monthly average creeping higher as the quarter progressed. Consumers in APAC (excluding Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) and the Netherlands saw the greatest increases in the third quarter.

Discounting is essential this holiday shopping season. Thirty percent of consumers say they’ll buy an item only if they can apply a promotion or coupon to their order. And this rings true across all household incomes: high-, middle-, and low-income consumers are all feeling the pinch of inflation enough to bargain hunt. 

We’ve already started to see a very noisy season with marketing and promotions beginning early and continuing throughout the quarter. In fact, October’s Amazon Prime Day caused average discount rates in the U.S. to jump to 21% during the event, a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 25% and an 11% increase over the third quarter of this year. 

Our data has shown steady inflation across all geographies – in the form of rising average selling prices – since the first quarter of 2021. In fact, global prices in the third quarter of 2022 have increased by 11% in two years. Let’s look at the regions with the biggest annual price increases:

This sustained double-digit growth has led consumers around the world to cut back on purchases. We found that 86% of shoppers — including 80% of high-income earners — are changing their buying habits due to inflation. The top change? More-frequent comparison shopping. That means more traffic, both digital and physical, before a consumer makes a purchase. 

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5 min read

Traditional thinking has segmented digital and physical channels into distinct categories that operate semi-independently, but that’s not how consumers view the shopping experience. Even as more shoppers head to physical stores to hunt for better prices, the hunt doesn’t end there. We found that 35% of shoppers who leave a store empty-handed say they’ll visit its online counterpart within a week to make their purchase. Another 6% say they’ll do so within a month. Meanwhile, 29% will go back to the brick-and-mortar location to complete their purchase — if they indeed decide to buy from that brand or retailer. 

Saving the sale via digital channels is particularly important with younger generations. Although 44% of baby boomers and 35% of Gen X will not come back to a brand or retailer if they leave the physical store empty-handed, more than half of millennials and Gen Z are likely to seek out the brand or retailer on other channels before making a purchase. Only 22% of millennials and 15% of Gen Zers will seek out another brand or retailer altogether.

Consumers don’t see walls between digital and physical properties. They expect one seamless and connected experience. 

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