InComm Payments, a leading global payments technology company, today released the results of its 2020 Holiday Index, which found that consumers still expect to participate in holiday shopping this season, with some adjustments and attention to safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on survey responses from 3,120 U.S. consumers, the survey explored consumers’ expectations around holiday shopping.
“It’s a unique year to say the least, but consumers and merchants are adapting, and holiday shopping appears poised to go on, even as traditions like parties and travel are reduced,” said Brian Parlotto, Executive Vice President at InComm Payments. “Consumers continue to value the versatility and convenience of gift card products, and we’re excited to meet growing consumer demand for convenient digital options and safe, secure touch-free payments.”
Holiday shopping perseveres, and consumers are planning their purchases
- 80% of consumers said they plan to purchase gifts during the 2020 holiday season.
- 58% intend to spend about the same amount as they did last year, and 15% expect to spend more.
- Consumers are planning almost 95% of their gift card purchases.
- 63% expect to complete at least some of their holiday shopping in person.
- 75% anticipate shopping at 2-5 different merchants in person, approximately the same as in 2019.
Gift cards top lists
Consistent with years past, InComm Payments’ Holiday Index found that gift cards were the most requested gift and most anticipated purchase for gift-givers.
- 94% of consumers intend to purchase up to 10 gift cards, including physical and digital cards, this holiday season.
- 30% of respondents anticipate buying more digital and physical gift cards during this year’s holiday season than last year.
- The most popular categories for closed loop (i.e. branded) gift cards are online exclusive retailers, restaurants and omnichannel retailers. These findings are consistent with consumer focus on e-commerce options, while restaurants remain high, indicating shifts to socially distanced dining and takeout options.
COVID safety protocols valued
Consumers are paying attention to in-store experiences and determining whether they meet their safety expectations. The Index also revealed shoppers’ opinions on touch-free payment methods.
- 84% of consumers have some level of interest in touch-free/contactless payments in light of COVID-19, with nearly half saying they were “highly interested” in such payment options.
- 74% agree that a retailer offering a touch-free/contactless payment option is important to them.
Majority of shoppers will revisit some merchants
- 69% of shoppers are likely to visit the same merchant more than once this holiday season.
- Many respondents indicated that stores not following safety protocols may be avoided.
Returns a consideration on the path to purchase
Consumers were asked how they felt about returning unwanted gifts in light of COVID-19 – something that may factor into shopping decisions.
- 83% of holiday shoppers expect retailers to be mindful of COVID-19 in their returns process.
- 53% say they’ll likely skip smaller returns, but still make the trip for larger items.
The InComm Payments 2020 Holiday Index drew on survey responses from 2,489 U.S. consumers regarding their expectations around shopping and other activities during the 2020 holiday season.