Insight

Season of reckoning: 2020 Consumer pulse holiday report

Retail consumers hunker down for holidays

Scott Rankin

Scott Rankin

Advisory Industry Leader for Consumer & Retail, KPMG US

Mark Schmeling

Mark Schmeling

National Sector Leader, Consumer & Retail, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2620

Julia Wilson

Julia Wilson

Managing Director, Deal Advisory, KPMG US

+1 404-222-3511

In September 2020, KPMG polled 1000 consumers across the U.S. to learn about the continuing economic impact of COVID-19, anticipated retail spend for the holiday season, and shopping preferences. 

COVID-19’s impact on holiday spend

Seventy-five percent (75%) of our survey respondents plan on engaging in holiday shopping. The majority indicated they start shopping either in October (25% of respondents) or November (38% of respondents), but a fair number began as early as August (12%).

Holiday budgets appear to be lighter this year.

The decline is a result of buying for fewer people and spending less per person. Respondents indicated they will purchase fewer gifts for office co-workers or school children, most likely the result of the remote work and school arrangements.

 

Average holiday budget ($)


For respondents that usually engage in holiday shopping

Average per person holiday budget


For respondents that usually engage in holiday shopping

Number of people recieving gifts


For respondents that usually engage in holiday shopping

 

Note(s): (a) KPMG conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers across the United States and they were asked the questions, “Approximately how much did you spend on gifts in total during the 2019 holiday season? And, what do you expect your total 2020 holiday gift shopping?”, “Approximately what was your average gift budget per person during the 2019 holiday season?", "How much do you expect to spend per person during the 2020 holiday season?" and “Do you expect to purchase gifts for more, less, or the same number of people during the 2020 holiday season compared to the 2019 holiday season?”

Source(s): (1) KPMG Consumer survey, fielded Sep 15, 2020 – Sep 19, 2020.

Participation in sales events

Black Friday and other significant retailer events will most likely look very different this year. According to our survey respondents, 41% still say Black Friday is their most important shopping event (compared to Cyber Monday sales or Prime day) but 41% of respondents also say they are definitely not planning on going to Black Friday sales in person.

 

Most important sale events during holidays


For respondents that usually engage in holiday shopping

In-store shopping during Black Friday sales


For respondents that usually engage in holiday shopping

Note(s): (a) KPMG conducted a survey of 1,000 consumers across the United States and they were asked the questions, “During your holiday shopping, what sales events are most important to you?” and “Do you plan on going into stores for Black Friday sales?”; (b) Other primarily include none, Christmas Shopping, any sale, senior citizen days etc.

Source(s): (1) KPMG Consumer survey, fielded Sep 15, 2020 – Sep 19, 2020.

Consumer archetypes

In our April 2020 survey, we introduced four archetypes based on consumers’ behaviors associated with COVID-19. We continue to watch how these groups evolve. From July to September, there was small movement toward optimism. Read the appendix of our complete data report to learn about the demographics and attitudes of each. 

 

16%

"Hit hard and cutting deep"

(unchanged)

47%

"Proceeding with caution"

(up 3%)

19%

"Hunkered down and saving"

(down 4%)

18%

"Ready to roll"

(up 1%)


The KPMG consumer pulse survey series explores key, emerging themes around consumer behaviors, purchasing patterns and the economy. Each survey asks 1,000 U.S. consumers, representing all demographics, timely questions about upcoming purchases and economic conditions. We conduct the surveys to help our clients understand consumers, uncover the signals of permanent change and create a basis for transforming their businesses to meet customers where they are.

Season of reckoning
COVID-19 consumer pulse: Holiday report