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Havas Media and DISQO report: 35% of US consumers cut back on holiday spending

Insights illuminate divide between “haves” and “have-nots,” as well as categories where consumers are cutting back on holiday spending 

December 13, 2022 New York, NY & Los Angeles, CAHavas Media Group (HMG) North America and customer experience (CX) intelligence platform DISQO™ today released a “Holiday Intelligence Report with insights about consumers’ holiday shopping intentions as they approach peak seasonal spending days this year. Highlighting the divide between lower- and higher-income consumers, the report discusses potential spending impacts across grocery, gifting, travel, and more

Havas Media and DISQO found that the majority of consumers (72%) “trading down” or staying flat on spending due to financial constraints, but many also remain willing to increase spending on gifts, connecting in-person with loved ones, specialty groceries and dining out. The insights show opportunity areas for brands and their messaging that will compel consumers to purchase behaviors through the remainder of the season.

“As the industry champion for meaningful media, Havas Media helps brands authentically and meaningfully connect with customers around sentiment and shared values,” said Amy Pacheco, Vice President of Marketplace Intelligence at Havas Media Group North America. “DISQO helped us to give our clients a pulse on consumer attitudes and intent while they are cutting back on holiday spending so they know how best to advertise right now.”  

Key takeaways:

Spending less is a priority for most consumers (35%). Higher-income consumers (annual HH > $75K) are much less likely to cut back. 

  • Across all product categories, there is a 4-point decrease in end-of-year spending intent, suggesting that overall spending will be below 2021.
  • For lower-income consumers, about 40% are cutting back; while only 25% are increasing spending (15-point difference).
  • For higher income consumers, the findings are reversed: 27% cutting back and 41% plan to increase spending (14-point difference).

Consumers are prioritizing personal connections including gifts and spending time with loved ones. 

  • The only spending categories to see increases in intent are buying gifts, traveling by car, and attending parties and social gatherings.
  • Intentions for air travel were down 7 points while intentions for car travel were up 5 points; the 12-point difference shows preference for economical travel.
  • When it comes to buying gifts, 21% of consumers are willing to trade up to more premium products, higher than any other category.

Specialty groceries and dining out are high priorities. 

  • Over 30% of lower-income consumers and more than 50% of higher-income consumers are willing to pay more for a nicer dining out experience; consumers are also willing to tip generously.
  • Over 25% are willing to pay “a little more” for specialty groceries, but only ~15% will pay “a lot more.”

“DISQO and Havas Media are like-minded about propelling valuable customer experiences by helping brands put their customers at the center of every decision,” said Patrick Egan, Director of Research and Insights at DISQO. “As consumers are cutting back on holiday spending, it has never been more important to meet them where they are. Our work with HMG will help brands understand how, when and where consumers expect them to show up.” 

Using DISQO CX intelligence platform, the study leverages survey data from 5,000+ representative US consumers (between November 8 and 16, 2022). To download the full Holiday Intelligence Report, click here.

About Havas Media Group   

Havas Media Group (HMG) is the media experience agency. HMG delivers this brand promise through the Mx System, where meaningful media helps build more meaningful brands. HMG is part of the Havas Group, owned by Vivendi, one of the world’s largest integrated content, media, and communications groups. HMG also consists of two global media networks: Havas Media and Arena Media. The media experience agencies are home to more than 10,000 specialists across 150 countries worldwide, with 62 Villages. Global clients include Hyundai Kia, Puma, TripAdvisor, Michelin, Telefónica, Reckitt Benckiser, among many others. 

For more information, visit the website or follow Havas Media Group on Twitter @HavasMedia, LinkedIn @Havas Media Group, Facebook @HavasMedia or Instagram @havas.   


DISQOis the CX intelligence platform for understanding every customer experience. Businesses trust DISQO to power better decisions for every customer, touchpoint, and outcome. DISQO’s insights, agile testing and advertising measurement products are powered by millions of consumers on the industry’s largest opt-in consumer data platform. DISQO is recognized in Deloitte’s Fast 500 and is a Top 100 Next Gen Workplace. Follow @DISQO on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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