The future of shopping: Insights from the 2021 holiday season
April 8th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

The future of shopping: Insights from the 2021 holiday season

The 2021 holiday shopping season saw historic growth and the largest surge in consumer spending in more than 20 years. Should retailers plan for another elongated holiday shopping season in 2022? And what can zero-party data inform us about Amazon purchase behaviors and consumer preferences?

Based on YouGov data insights, some of which were shared in a recent Meet the Analyst Webinar, here’s what you need to know about the 2021 holiday season and our predictions for the future of holiday shopping.

Which brands won the early holiday shopping season?

A YouGov survey conducted before the holidays last year revealed that three in ten US consumers planned to shop before November. Factor in the 17% who said they would shop in early or mid-November and that accounts for roughly half of all US consumers who planned to start their shopping before Black Friday (47%).

Data from YouGov BrandIndex—which measures and tracks consumer perceptions toward brands on a daily basis—reveals the winners of the 2021 fall holiday shopping season. Zooming into Purchase Intent (a measure of the brands’ consumers are MOST likely to buy from), we see that personal care, food, and electronics brands showed the most movement between October and November.

Watch the Meet the Analyst webinar, where YouGov and Insider Intelligence partnered to deliver insights into the most recent holiday season and predict trends for the future of holiday shopping.

Leading the list are Nature’s Bounty (change in score of +3-points between October and November), Campbell’s (+2.8-points), Apple (+2.7-points), McCormick (+2.5-points), and Dove (+2.5-points).

Which brands attracted more customers during the 2021 holiday shopping season?

Shifting the focus to customer base and the brands that managed to grow their custom last year, Snickers (+4-point increase), Olay (+3.6), Dove (+3.6), McCormick (+3.4) and Kraft (+3.3) come out on top when looking solely at the early holiday shopping season (November vs October).

But when we examine the post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday period and the lead-up to Christmas, a whole different set of brands make their way to the top. Between November and December, Nestlé Toll House (+5.8-points), PlayStation (+5.1), Nintendo (+4.8) Cheetos (+4.6), and Sprite (+4.0) lead all other brands when it comes to attracting new customers.

What kind of things did people buy from Amazon?

Kindle books, gift cards, pet food, shoes, and nutritional supplements are just a few of the top categories purchased during last year’s holiday season. Product-wise, some of the most popular items were Amazon and DoorDash eGift cards along with food products such as Kool-Aid DrinkMix, Minute Maid, Pepsi Zero Sugar, and Chef Boyardee.

This purchase data comes from YouGov Safe, which collects GDPR/CCPA compliant zero-party data through double opt-in consent and unlocks unfiltered views of consumer actions online.

Managing Director of YouGov Safe Hamish Brocklebank added, “Ultimately, YouGov Safe helps us understand not just what consumers say they do, but what they are actually doing online. Since everyone has such different tastes for gift-giving, it makes sense that the most frequent individual items purchased on Amazon during the holiday period were gift cards and big brand food items.”

Get in touch to learn more about YouGov’s ever-growing, living consumer intelligence data.

Watch the full YouGov/eMarketer webinar here

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