As U.S. shoppers have watched supply chain disfunction trigger inventory shortages in recent months, nervous consumers have already started changing their buying habits ahead of the traditional holiday peak season in an effort to avoid high prices, out-of-stock products, and delivery delays, a new survey shows.
The consumer research study from enterprise software vendor Oracle shows that 52% of Americans have already started holiday shopping or plan to shop earlier than usual. In addition, 20% plan to order more gifts in case some are delayed or canceled, and 34% of people say they will buy more gift cards this year.
Those changes may even affect some of the traditional foundations of the winter shopping rush, since many consumers are not willing to wait for store holidays or special sales. Just 37% of shoppers said they would participate in Amazon Prime Day(s) or Black Friday sales, and only 26% say they will take part in Cyber Monday events.
The survey conducted by consulting firm Untold Insights polled 5,728 global consumers, including 512 in the United States, in September 2021.
Responses showed that shoppers are worried they will be left holding an empty box as products may not be available or will take too long to arrive. And others are stressed about thieves, with 32% of people fearing that porch pirates may steal any parcels that do arrive at their homes.
And when shoppers are stressed, retailers may feel the pain. Consumers in the survey said they will judge retailers by their ability to provide inventory on demand. By the numbers, 40% agree that out of stock items constitute a lousy shopping experience, 38% say they are attracted to brands/companies based on product availability, and 22% won’t wait for a retailer to restock before they go somewhere else.
“As we see in the news, the supply chain challenges are a global reality. Regardless, consumers will still measure retailers on their ability to deliver on their wish lists this holiday season,” Mike Webster, senior vice president, and general manager, Oracle Retail, said in a release. “Accountability will be the name of the game. Retailers must have clear visibility into their inventory, a realistic timeline for the fulfillment, and a plan to communicate clearly throughout the order and delivery processes. Through transparency and execution, retailers can earn trust with their customers and build the potential for future loyalty.”