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More than half of consumers said they would cut total spending or only shop in stores if delivery prices increased.

Holiday spending will be more difficult for many U.S. consumers in 2023, according to a new survey. Online review platform Trustpilot released its annual holiday survey of 2,000 U.S. adults. 

Consumers have less disposable income to spend than in previous years, and they’re finding alternatives to fund purchases. One in three holiday shoppers told Trustpilot they’re considering going into credit card debt to make holiday purchases this year. The same proportion are willing to take on additional side hustles to fund holiday spending.

34% are considering using savings for the holidays. An even larger percentage, 41%, are considering using Buy Now, Pay Later services to fund purchases. Two out of five consumers even said they would cut back on essentials, like food and gas, for holiday purchases. 

Respondents told Trustpilot they’re planning to spend less, and spend differently, than in 2022. 

On average, U.S. consumers said they plan to spend 39% less on holiday shopping this year than they did in 2022. The remaining gifts they still plan to purchase are less likely to be physical items. 41% said they plan to opt for some digital options, like gift cards. 


Shipping prices are an impediment to holiday spending

Shoppers say these choices are a response to rising prices that reduce spending power.

43% said increases in product prices would be a reason not to do their holiday shopping with a particular retailer. 42% said the same about increased shipping costs. 

Nearly two-thirds (64%) said if delivery costs increased, they would reduce their cart total to offset the cost. The same number said they would switch to exclusively shopping in physical stores, and 60% said they would only buy from online retailers offering free shipping.

Consumers also noted shipping mishaps they experienced in 2022, which impact choices in 2023 holiday spending. 


“Last year’s mishaps damaged consumer trust, and with a tighter grip on their wallets this season, meeting consumer expectations will be key for retailers’ success,” Mieke De Schepper, chief commercial officer at Trustpilot, said in a written statement. “Based on experiences shopping online last holiday season, 30% of Americans trust businesses a lot to get them the products they need on time this year, and while that is promising, there is still more work to be done to increase that number.”

35% of consumers said they might decide not to purchase from a retailer based on their choice of shipping carrier. That’s due to shipping mishaps in 2022. Lack of communication was the biggest complaint, which 57% of shoppers cited. Lost or damaged packages were a problem for 51% of shoppers, followed by delayed packages (49%) and unpleasant delivery people (41%). 

Consumers are split on who to blame for a poor shipping experience. 37% blame a retailer, and 25% blame the brand. 

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