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ARMONK, NY, 21 October 2021 / PRNewswire / – According to the findings of a new global consumer study released by IBM (NYSE: IBM) Institute for Business Value (IBV), respondents feel a little more festive for the 2021 holiday season than they were in 2020, and report a higher household budget allocation for travel and local activities. However, survey suggests concerns over COVID-19 pandemic are hampering return of traditional shopping season

The global survey * of more than 13,000 adults surveyed found that while rising immunization rates have relaxed restrictions in many places, many people are still thinking about the safety of socializing, shopping and hanging out. trips, with many respondents from around the world continuing to make choices from one location. of caution.

Almost three in four respondents expressed concern about new variants of COVID-19, three in five said they fear interacting with unvaccinated people outside their families, and more than half of those surveyed said they feared to spend time with unvaccinated family and friends. Holiday shopping budgets are still 13% lower than they were in 2019; however, they are up 30% year over year, and 87% of consumers surveyed say they could buy for the holidays this year, up six points from 2020.

“Perhaps the most effective industry leaders are those who can meet the customer where, when and how they want,” said Jonathan wright, Managing Partner and Global Vice President for Supply Chain Consulting, IBM Consulting. “Based on the survey results, surveyed consumers may continue to demand security requirements for in-person activities, as well as modern fulfillment models such as contactless pickup, same-day delivery, l ” shipment from the store, online purchase, in-store pick-up, etc. Deploying artificial intelligence, intelligent automation, and analytics across an enterprise can create a more adaptable business that can quickly react, pivot, and scale up or down, which can be a critical enabler. regarding this holiday shopping season. “

Notable results of the survey include:

An earlier start to the holiday shopping season

Holiday shoppers are concerned about shortages, so to increase their chances of getting everything on their wish lists, more than one in four adults surveyed started shopping in September or earlier. Twice as many respondents plan to start in October compared to last year and just under half of consumers surveyed plan to start their holiday shopping before November, weeks earlier than the traditional start date of ” Black Friday ”in the United States.

Online shopping still reigns supreme

While there is noticeable demand for local produce and merchants, online shopping is expected to maintain its leading position this holiday season for those surveyed. This statistic is remarkable compared to February 2021 IBV data which revealed that 73% of shoppers surveyed wanted and expected to return to malls and shopping malls after being vaccinated. Instead, 43% of consumers surveyed say they plan to buy products online and only 36% of respondents say they plan to buy products from a physical store, citing growing concern about new epidemics and variants of COVID-19.

Vacation travel and experiences / activities could be on the rebound for 2021

According to the survey, travel is expected to account for a larger portion of vacation budgets across all respondents, dropping to 8.2% from 5.7% in 2020. Although still lower than it was in 2019, nearly 40% of those polled said they planned to travel to see family and friends while on vacation, up from 28% last year. Travel budgets are also on the rise, up 43% from 2020, with international accommodation and air travel budgets increasing more than air travel and domestic accommodation budgets for respondents. Local outings and activities, as well as dining out, could see the biggest increase in 2021, with consumers surveyed planning to spend 30% more on this area than last year.

Consumers always care about sustainability

Eco-friendly products can also have a head start this holiday season. Four in five consumers surveyed say they can consider sustainability to some extent when shopping for the holidays this year, which is consistent with last year’s survey results. This group plans to change their behavior by avoiding single-use plastics, buying locally and buying more locally or made locally.

* Methodology of the IBV study
The IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed more than 13,000 adults in nine countries (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the UK, and United States). The full study is available at:

About the IBM Institute for Business Value
The IBV Institute for Business Value (IBV) provides trusted business insights through our position at the intersection of technology and business, combining the experience of industry thinkers, leading academics and professionals in the field. with global research and performance data. IBV’s thought leadership portfolio includes in-depth research, benchmarking and performance comparisons, as well as data visualizations that support business decision making across regions, industries and technologies. Follow @IBMIBV on Twitter and for the latest information by email, visit:


Tricia Vuton
IBM Communication
[email protected]

IBM company logo.  (PRNewsfoto / IBM)

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