2023 Holiday and Festive Shopping Season Preview

Learn the key trends you need to know to prepare for the upcoming holiday and festive season. Based on data from thousands of retailers and millions of dollars in ...
Updated on November 20, 2023

As temperatures reach record highs across the northern hemisphere, let’s turn our thoughts to a different kind of spike—the skyrocketing sales associated with the holiday and festive season. Inflation appears to be easing, supply chains are improving, and consumers have shown strong resilience, giving hope for a better than previously expected 2023 peak shopping season.  

To get a better sense of what marketers can expect this year, we dug into our data from thousands of retailers and millions of dollars in transactions, and from our monthly consumer survey for unique insights into the 2022 holiday season and how sales are trending in 2023. Here are the holiday shopping statistics and predictions marketers need to know: 

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Bank on these 2022 holiday/festive season winning categories 

Where should you place your bets this season? A good place to start is to look at what categories saw the most growth in 2022. In the US, UK, France, and Germany, Apparel & Accessories, Health & Beauty, and Toys & Games were the top trending retail categories during the 2022 Black Friday weekend. In all countries, Toys & Games was the leading category throughout the entire season.  

Since many consumers fully geared up for work and entertainment during the pandemic, Electronics did not increase as steadily in 2022 as in prior years. Will this pave the way for a potential resurgence in 2023? 

top retail categories for holiday 2022
Source: Criteo Commerce Data. Indexed sales compared to the first 4 weeks of October 2022. All site types. United States.

Plan for varying purchase path lengths

Understanding the length of the holiday shopper journey is crucial to helping marketers optimize their strategies. The data reveals varying timelines, with some customers taking weeks before Black Friday and others only a few hours to complete their purchases. To maximize holiday campaigns, businesses should plan to target and engage both early planners and last-minute shoppers. 

holiday shopper journey
Source: Criteo Commerce Data – US, Key retailers by vertical, average time from first IPV to purchase for full cohort, 25% of fastest buyers, & 25% of longest buyers

Take advantage of “New Buyer November” (and December)

Don’t just focus on existing customers this season. Shopper loyalty is up for grabs and the chance to win new customers is high before, during, and after Black Friday, with the most significant rise in new buyers during Black Friday. In the US, the share of new buyers on Black Friday compared to October was up 14%. In the UK, France, and Germany, the share increased 9%, 10%, and 6%, respectively. 

percentage increase of new buyers on Black Friday
Source: Indexed sales by new buyers compared to the first 4 weeks of October 2022. All sites. United States. The share of new buyers increases from 73% to 83% during the period (10 pts, 14%).

Win Black Friday with can’t-miss deals and exclusive discounts

We asked shoppers what draws them to new retailers during Black Friday. Here’s what they told us: 

  1. Deals and exclusive discounts reign supreme: Half of respondents said a great deal was a primary motivation to try a new retailer, while an additional 38% said that discounts they can’t find anywhere else will draw them in. In the UK, those numbers were 65% and 53%, respectively. In France, 62% said great deals and 42% said exclusive discounts, and in Germany the numbers increased to 67% and 58%, respectively.
  2. Early deals for the win: To fuel new customer acquisition, early deals before Black Friday proved to be a winning strategy. Nearly 4 out of 10 US shoppers admitted to trying out a new retailer because of enticing early deals (In the UK, France, and Germany, 43%, 21%, and 30% said the same).  
consumer survey - what makes you try a new online store on Black Friday
Source: Criteo Shopper Survey, Q2 2022 vs Q2 2021, US, N=3,449

Memorial Day and Amazon Prime Day show exciting potential for the rest of the year

Recent Memorial Day (May 29) and Amazon Prime Day (July 11-12) sales results predict a promising holiday/festive season. The spike in the US, especially in the Apparel & Accessories category, surpassed last year’s figures. Amazon Prime Day’s halo effect also resulted in sales spikes of +111% for CE , +67% for Sports/Outdoor, and +56% for Jewelry. 

Memorial Day 2022 increase in sales for apparel and accessories
Criteo Commerce Data, United States. Indexed unit sales compared to average during the first two weeks of May in each respective year.

Get ahead of the holidays

Consumers are starting their holiday journeys earlier than ever, which means marketers need to be planning their end of year strategies now. Consider these takeaways from the data: 

  • Ensure plenty of budget and make full use of your product catalog for the winning retail categories from last year 
  • Plan campaigns to target and engage both early planners (up to 45 days in advance of Black Friday) and last-minute shoppers (just hours in advance of Black Friday). 
  • Make sure acquisition campaigns are part of your strategy. Shopper loyalty is up for grabs and the chance to win new customers is high 
  • Create irresistible deals, offer exclusive discounts and promote deals ahead of Black Friday to win more new customers and more sales 
  • Check back here – we’ll be releasing new consumer survey insights, a Black Friday recap, and more in the coming months 
Ann Pyle

Ann revels in finding the simplest and clearest way to convey a thought. Her favorite word is 'moxie', which she tries to embody whenever possible. She's been developing content strategies and writing for the tech and B2B space for more than a decade. This, along with her SEO and advertising agency ...

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