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Consumers are willing to give up streaming services and eating out, sell possession and take on another job in order to buy holiday gifts this year.

Those are findings from Sitecore's 2022 U.S. Holiday Report on American shopping behavior and spending. While half, 53%, aim to spend the same as last year, shoppers are willing to put in the work to find the best deals — including 62% who are shopping during the workday and one in three that are using a secret Internet browser to avoid being detected while shopping during work hours.

"Faced with economic pressures from inflation, consumers will do more to spend less this holiday season. Shoppers are deeply informed and looking for the best deals and online shopping experiences that brands can offer. When they do spend, they want to make sure it counts and want to shop with brands that understand their needs," Paige O'Neill, Sitecore CMO, said in a press release on the findings. "This season, shoppers will seek out brands that offer competitive pricing, buy-now-pay-later options and low-cost shipping. Brands that empathize with consumers' inflation-forced financial constraints and focus on meeting their needs by delivering content that focuses on value and shows authentic empathy — where they can — will come out ahead this holiday season."

Additional findings include:

  • While many stay focused on buying for others, one in three will treat themselves with an expensive or luxury item during the holiday. Nearly half (49%) say they make purchases to distract themselves or feel better about what's happening in the world; but instead, these purchases leave them feeling guilty. Nearly two in five (36%) self-shoppers admit to hiding a gift they bought because they felt ashamed of shopping for themselves.
  • Despite eased restrictions on in-person shopping, just one in four (22%) plan to shop in-store. Instead, consumers prefer to shop online mostly because of convenience and the lure of a good deal. And if prices are competitive, shoppers say they will prioritize "mindful shopping" by purchasing American-made products (71%), shopping with small businesses (74%) and Black- or minority-owned businesses (57%).
  • While buy-one-get-one offers and sales are a great way to drive online purchasing, nearly half of all shoppers (45%) say free shipping is the most enticing discount. In fact, one in three strongly agree they won't purchase an item that doesn't come with free shipping (32%) or will buy more items to meet free shipping requirements (35%). Any content delivered by brands to entice customers should focus on this value-added option and build from there to cut through the digital noise if they want to see strong conversions.