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InComm Payments says holiday shopping to start early

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Gift cards remain on top of shoppers' lists.

ATLANTA — InComm Payments released on Wednesday the results of its 2021 Holiday Report, which found that consumers are already preparing for the holiday season and plan to get a head start on shopping – beginning as early as right now. The study drew responses from 2,552 U.S. consumers regarding their expectations for this season’s holiday shopping.

“Shoppers want to ensure that they’re able to get the right gift for everyone on their list,” said Brian Parlotto, executive vice president at InComm Payments. “As consumers anticipate a more ‘normal’ holiday season, they’ll continue to look to retailers who have the right selection and deals to meet their needs with each shopping trip.”

A year after an unprecedented holiday season that saw pandemic concerns keep many in isolation, consumers are expecting to socialize significantly more in 2021. Respondents stated they will:

  • Give more gifts (64%)
  • Travel more (225%)

Consumers are also expecting to get started shopping even earlier this year. When asked about how much of their holiday shopping they anticipated completing before Halloween, 62% indicated “a little,” “a moderate amount” or “a great deal.” Those expecting to complete at least some of their shopping before Thanksgiving increased by 5% over last year, totaling 85% of consumers.

The top influencer affecting consumers’ shopping decisions was finding gifts that the recipient will like and use, which increased by 25% over last year. The other top factors center around finding deals and sales to save money on their shopping – in fact, only 4% said they don’t care about deals.

When asked how many merchants they expect to visit this year, 93% said between two and 10 brick-and-mortar retailers. Overall, 80% of consumers said they are likely to shop the same merchant more than once, up 16% compared to last year.

Consumers indicated they are likely to give gifts to more people than last year, as those expecting to give gifts to just one to five people decreased by 15%. Nearly 40% of shoppers anticipate giving gifts to between six and ten people, while over 20% plan to shop for 11 to 15 people.

The study also ift cards ranked highest among all anticipated gift categories once again, with 80% of consumers reporting they plan to give a gift card. Clothing came in second at 67%, followed by toys, home goods, and personal care products.

On average, consumers plan to give seven physical gift cards and three digital gift cards this year. These purchases will largely be planned in advance (72%), with 70% of consumers planning to pair gift cards with greeting cards or other gifts.

When asked which gift cards they most want this season, consumers indicated a preference for online retailers, followed by restaurants and dining, which saw a noticeable uptick of 18% over last year:

    1. Online retailer
    2. Restaurant and dining
    3. Big box store

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