The 2023 holiday shopping season has come and gone, but its festive echoes still resonate. Beyond the glittering lights and joyous carols, the 2023 season unveiled fascinating trends that helped reshape the retail landscape.
Consumer shopping behavior changes over time, and the 2023 holiday shopping season is no different. Even with economic uncertainty, 23% of consumers said they planned to spend more in Q4 of 2023 compared to Q3.
From savvy spending habits to tech-infused experiences, let’s dive into the top five holiday shopping trends we saw in 2023.
1. The rise of TikTok Shop
2023 was a big year for creators, influencers, and brands alike to promote products through the new TikTok Shop. TikTok Shop is an ecommerce platform integrated into the TikTok app that enables sellers and creators to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok.
According to TikTok, about 150,000 brands and creators published shoppable videos on the platform during Black Friday and Cyber Monday week – and during that week, a whopping 5 million new customers made a purchase on TikTok Shop.
If you are a brand or an influencer with an audience of at least 5,000 followers, you can start promoting products to the massive TikTok audience. TikTok Shop is still fairly new, so now is the best time to create shoppable videos as TikTok continues to push towards in-app shopping.
2. Payment methods varied
During the 2023 holiday shopping season, we saw a significant increase in “Buy Now Pay Later” payment methods. According to a report done by Adobe Analytics, Buy Now Pay Later usage hit an all-time high, contributing to $940 million in online spending on Cyber Monday.
BNPL as a payment method was up 42.5% YoY in November 2023, and the number of items per order rose 11% as consumers used this payment method for larger shopping carts.
Flexible payment methods such as Buy Now Pay Later are becoming more popular as inflation affects the cost of goods but allows shoppers to feel less of a hit at the time of purchase, even if that means going into more consumer debt.
Ecommerce sellers on platforms such as Shopify now have the ability to add BNPL as a payment option for their customers. It incentivizes customers to purchase more as the payment is spread out over a couple of months.
3. Consumers shopped small
According to the Jungle Scout 2023 Q4 Consumer Trends Report, more and more consumers were shopping at small, local businesses during the 2023 holiday season, compared to larger corporations.
At least 20% of consumers shopped for holiday gifts from local and/or small businesses in 2023, up from 10% in 2022, with the Baby Boomer generation as a driving force.
Believe it or not, small businesses, including specialty, independent, local, or boutique businesses, were the fourth most popular in-store shopping destinations for 2023 holiday shoppers.
4. Virtual shopping experiences
The rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology has transformed the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. In 2023, retailers like Amazon harnessed these immersive technologies to create virtual shopping environments, allowing customers to explore products from the comfort of their homes.
Virtual try-ons for clothing and accessories became increasingly popular, enhancing the online shopping experience by providing a more realistic preview of items before purchase. In fact, according to the Jungle Scout Q3 Consumer Trends Report, 27% of consumers stated they use augmented and virtual reality tools when shopping online.
5. Personalized and AI-driven recommendations
Artificial intelligence (AI) continued to play a pivotal role in the holiday shopping experience, providing consumers with personalized recommendations based on their preferences and past behavior.
Ecommerce platforms and retail apps employ advanced algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, offering customers tailored suggestions for gifts, promotions, and deals.
- Smart recommendations. Websites and apps used browsing history and past purchases to suggest relevant items.
- Chatbots get conversational. AI-powered chatbots assisted shoppers with product inquiries and recommendations, providing 24/7 support and a personalized touch.
- AI-powered gifting assistants. Virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa offered gift recommendations based on recipient preferences and past purchases.
What holiday shopping trends did you see in 2023?
As AI and other technology advance, it is no surprise that shopping trends like the ones we discussed above become so popular. We expect all of these trends to continue to grow in 2024, especially TikTok Shop and other AI-powered shopping tools.
What holiday shopping trends did you notice in 2023? Let us know in the comments.
Brian Connolly is an Amazon seller, ecommerce expert, and writer for Jungle Scout. He lives in the New Jersey Shore area with his wife and cat. When he isn’t writing advice online for aspiring and experienced Amazon sellers for Jungle Scout, he spends his free time boating, fishing, and selling boating-themed items on his Amazon business.