Stress, worry, and fear are influencing 2018 holiday shopping patterns

Stress, worry, and fear are influencing 2018 holiday shopping patternsStress, Worry, and Fear Are Influencing 2018 Holiday Shopping Patterns



Brian D. Ward Vice President, Marketing and Strategy at Experian Consumer Services
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Aside from baking the perfect, Instagram-worthy pie and keeping their relatives from roasting each other over politics while passing the potatoes, your customers face many more important hurdles, challenges, and frustrations during the holiday season. The list-topper: their finances.

Focus on Finances

Increasingly, consumers are concerned about protecting their personal and financial data during this time of year. On top of that, they’re already looking ahead to see what they can do to improve their financial profile when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions.

Just like Martha Stewart, finance and technology companies can also offer tips to help soothe holiday stress and confusion, while building customer loyalty and engagement. That includes offering budgeting and credit education features to their product line up, as well as credit and identity theft protection tools, all of which are available from Experian.

Consider these results from Experian's 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey:




Now that you know how much consumers plan to pay for their gifts, let's take a look at what else they're spending time thinking about.

Budget Stress

One-third of all those surveyed said they feel anxious about holiday shopping in one way or another—with one of the top three worries being finding enough money to buy gifts. Other worries for consumers include wanting to avoid adding to their debt levels and sticking to their holiday budgets. Those worries conflict with the fact that only one-third of shoppers set a holiday gift budget, even though they plan to spend an average of $846 on gifts – up 14% from last year.

Credit Worries

Another big concern holiday shoppers harbor is the fear that they don't have enough credit to buy gifts, with millennial shoppers worrying the most about how their credit scores will be affected by their gift giving. Nonetheless, more than three-quarters of all shoppers say they won't do anything to monitor how their holiday shopping affects their credit scores. Millennial shoppers, however, are 88% more likely than the average consumer to open a new credit card during the holidays—mostly to score the discounts that come with a store-branded line of credit or card.

Identity Theft Fears

More than 40% of all shoppers plan to make their holiday purchases online, with the majority of millennial and African-American consumers saying they'll shop via the web this year. Higher-income consumers are most likely to hit the internet to buy on Cyber Monday, while younger and non-white shoppers say they expect to head online to enjoy Black Friday gift deals. 

But that's a risky plan since one-quarter of the consumers victimized by ID theft say their data was stolen during holiday shopping. Still, less than 60% of buyers say they're vigilant about security during their online shopping sprees. Instead, nearly 80% of consumers say they want banks, card issuers, and other institutions to step up their efforts to protect consumers during the online holiday shopping season.

What Happens Once The Holidays Are Over?

Whatever the outcome of their holiday shopping, as always, the top goals of consumers remain the same for 2019: save more, improve their credit scores, pay off debt and create an effective personal budget. Baby boomers are especially focused on paying down debt as they approach retirement, while millennial shoppers say they'll focus on increasing their income. Finally, more than a third of all consumers say they want to start monitoring their credit reports for accuracy.

The Bottom Line

Even as holiday excitement approaches, consumers are more anxious than ever about their money, budgets, data security, credit, and saving for the future. This gives financial and technical service providers a broad range of opportunities to engage, support and bond with customers by helping them secure their finances.


For tools, news, and insights about how you can help your customers stay safe while managing to achieve their financial goals, sign up for the Experian newsletter.

Your partner in consumer marketing, 

Brian D. Ward 

About the Author: Brian D. Ward is the Vice President, Marketing and Strategy at Experian Consumer Services, which powers opportunities for partners by enabling them to customize valuable services that engage, retain and monetize customers.


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By Brian D. Ward  |  November 13, 2018   |  


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