2022 Holiday Shopping Trends for Merchants to Expect

2022 Holiday Shopping Trends for Merchants to Expect


As we approach the peak season, it’s only a matter of weeks until holiday shopping really ramps up. The holiday season is often the busiest for shopping as Christmas gifts, Black Friday deals, and other celebratory items find their way into new homes. For most merchants, the peak season is when most of their revenue is gained. This year, however, experts are expecting customers to shop differently than in the past. Due to country-wide economics, social media trends, and changing expectations, last year’s habits can’t be expected to stay around. 2022 holiday shopping trends are likely going to affect the way merchants have to sell their products. 

For merchants hoping to stay ahead of customers, selling standards will have to adjust with the times. The circumstances are changing, and maximizing sales is going to mean keeping up with the seasonal trends. As with every year, customers will be changing how much they spend and where they’ll be spending it. If you want this peak season to bring an increase in revenue, you’ll have to learn about who you’re hoping to sell to.

As we look past the pandemic, shopping is (somewhat) returning to normal. Prices are up, and the economy is down, playing a significant role in how anyone wants to spend their money. But indeed, some parts of shopping may never return to what they were in recent years. As a retailer, you might be worried about what this holiday season will bring. But even with these uniquely challenging factors, there are ways to come out above if you play your cards right.

If you haven’t been adjusting to these expectations yet, now is the time. Here are some predicted 2022 holiday shopping trends that sellers might soon be seeing.

1. Holiday shopping will start earlier 

In most peak seasons, the real holiday traffic starts picking up after thanksgiving, or at the end of October. But this year, it’s expected that customers will start their holiday shopping earlier than in the past. You can expect the first weeks of October to be busier than usual, both with online and in-person traffic. In 2021, more than 42% of buyers started holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. This year, this number is expected to be even higher, kicking off-peak season before sellers may even be ready.

This might be in part because of inflation. Most buyers are likely trying to avoid price hikes before the actual holiday time. By spending early, most shoppers are hoping to find good deals and bargains. It’s likely that this year, customers won’t be spending anything unless they can find a good deal to convince them. Last year, the inventory crisis also affected many holiday plans, delaying the delivery of online orders. In 2022, however, customers are going to try and avoid this while also saving money.

The takeaway: Preparing early will be critical to this year’s success. Customers are ready to jumpstart their shopping to avoid price hikes, so you need to be, too. Rather than wait until closer to the holidays to start picking up pace, you’ll need to start preparing inventory and processes now. Your selling and protocols need to be set in place to prepare for an early surge. 

Technology might be your friend if you’re looking for ways to ease the busy season. Automating appropriate processes like supply chain management and delivery can save you plenty of time and money. Especially as the peak season begins, you’ll be thankful if the manual work is reduced and replaced by automatic processes. Technology can also reduce human error, impacting how smooth your processes are.

2. Mobile shopping will increase

It seems no matter how many uses our phones have, we never fail to find one more. Mobile commerce, or mCommerce, is a growing retail channel expected to account for more than 41.6% of all eCommerce sales by the end of the year. mCommerce refers to buying products or services simply from your smartphone, which is becoming more popular as ads are placed across social media platforms. 

Brands and eCommerce stores are now capitalizing on the power of social media. Influencers and brand ambassadors are massive players in the mCommerce space. By sharing social proof online, like influencers promoting clothing or food, buyers can easily see the value of products. Apps like TikTok and Instagram are large factors in increasing mobile device shopping. 

What does this mean for the 2022 holiday season? Mobile shopping has to be at the forefront of your offerings. In addition to other selling channels, having a strong social media presence could affect your overall sales. 

The takeaway: The key to achieving success with mobile commerce will likely be to join in. By showcasing your brand on social media, you can quickly gain access to a wider audience all across the world. Influencers and micro-influencers show that your products work well for them, and this social proof sells well. Customers always want to know the true benefit of a product before they purchase. 

Omnichannel selling is also becoming more necessary as shoppers turn to online buying. This means you’ll need to offer in-person, website, and mobile-friendly shopping options to see the best results. All of these options should be seamlessly integrated with each other, meaning buyers can browse in-store and easily find the same items to order online. A well-rounded customer experience across all platforms can help you stand out. Offering various purchasing options means more customers are more likely to buy.

3. Buyers will not rush

Even though holiday shopping is expected to start early, that doesn’t mean it’ll end early as well. Instead, some experts predict an extended shopping season, where buyers are looking for deals before making any purchases. 

Based on habits from recent years and the current shift taking place, professionals are expecting 62% of shoppers to buy something in the week before Christmas. Shoppers are likely to hold out for products to go on sale, even if that means waiting even longer. 2022 holiday shopping trends are already showing customers holding off for the best deals.

The takeaway: If being prepared for early shopping isn’t hard enough, you’ll need to plan for the last-minute orders as well. Buyers never turn away from a good deal, and many hope to find last-minute bargains. A peak late in the season will require sellers to have everything in place to get these orders to customers by Christmas since that’s usually when they expect it. This means not only do you need the inventory to last, but you need a delivery solution that’ll act fast.

2022 holiday shopping trends

4. Buyers will seek out local and sustainable brands above others 

Sustainability is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Sustainable brands are making their environmentally friendly items their core. Customers are changing their values when it comes to shopping, looking for brands they can trust and connect with. As many as 64% of customers won’t purchase from brands that don’t align with their values. 

The environmental impact is increasingly important to customers. Transparency, for example, impacts how likely some customers are to buy from a brand. Customers are now making climate action plans and material sources a top factor in their decision-making. Studies also show customers are willing to pay a little bit more for sustainable products, but not too much. 

The takeaway: Sustainable brands are a big trend right now, but they speak for a larger audience. Sustainability is not the only feature consumers are interested in. Consumers are generally interested in buying from brands that give back in any way. By sharing how your brand benefits others, you can build trust with customers and prove you’re more than a mass-producing factory. 

5. Brand loyalty will be valuable 

In 2020 and 2021, customers started to demand more accessible shopping experiences. Saved information like addresses and credit cards made it easier to buy online. At the time, these experiences drove high levels of customer loyalty and return rates. Now, as prices continue rising, customer loyalty is shifting its base. Customers are giving their commitment to brands that value their overall experience. 

But as prices become more and more inflated, brand loyalty becomes even more important. Nowadays, customers are ready to jump ship when another seller can offer them a lower price. The only way to compete in an unsteady market is to have something that brings customers back over time. Loyalty can be connected to many things, from goods to experiences. One on hand, you might sell a product no one else does. If this isn’t the case, you need to offer an experience buyers value more than others. By offering a great price point along with all the other aspects that make a brand stand out, from customer experience to fast delivery, customers will be happy. This will be the key to getting customers during the 2022 holiday season. 

The takeaway: If you want to increase your volume this holiday season, find a way to connect to customers on a deeper-than-surface-level topic. Consumers want to feel like they’re buying from merchants who genuinely care, so show them exactly what it is you care about. If you’re involved in a worldly initiative, switching your materials to a more environmentally friendly substitute, or donating to a charity, this is a great way to connect with your buyers. This level of connection builds trust, creating loyal, satisfied customers. 

The Solution 

Pleasing customers this holiday season won’t be like in the past. These predicted trends mean measures will have to be taken to keep customers coming. Unlike in pre-pandemic times, customers are not rushing to buy at the last minute, nor are they spending costly amounts when deals might be coming. Instead, they’re more likely to wait and find the items that won’t cost them an arm and a leg and are turning to brands they feel they can trust. 

Merchants will likely see a big trend toward online shopping and mobile commerce, increasing the need for delivery solutions. Delivery expectations are changing as well as more consumers’ same- and next-day delivery options that are still affordable. Plus, the holiday shopping season will start earlier, and merchants will have last-minute orders close to Christmas. 

Partnerships will be key this year to maintaining smooth operations and keeping prices affordable to customers. Working with suppliers and delivery providers who can meet your needs will help you offer customers exactly what they are looking for. 

This year, selling the value of items will require offering the best mix of experience and affordability. Delivery is one essential part of online buying that often sways customers to purchase from specific stores. Finding the sweet spot for pricing is one way to stand out among competitors. FlashBox offers affordable, same-day delivery, helping you offer the best services to your customers. In a time of increasing online shopping, delivery is now more important than ever. Buyers are always looking for deals that don’t compromise the overall experience, and FlashBox can help you be the ideal seller. 

To get set up with FlashBox before the peak season begins, reach out to our team today.

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