Unwrapped: 2023 Holiday Shopping Surge

In the post-pandemic world, consumers have rediscovered the joy of in-store shopping during the 2023 Christmas holiday season, even as they still rely on the convenience of e-commerce that served them so well during lockdowns

Global Christmas sales surged to an estimated US$2.8 trillion in 2023, a 5% increase from the previous year.  Omnichannel shopping emerged as a prominent trend, with retailers seamlessly merging physical and digital realms through features like ‘buy online, pick up in-store,’ allowing consumers to transition between the two modes. 

In 2023, technology played an integral role in the shopping journey, and even catered to cultural and local tastes. For example, global marketplaces provided a platform for local artisans, resulting in a surge of purchases of unique handcrafted gifts from around the world. Two prime examples are Etsy and GoCoop.

While economic uncertainties led some to curtail discretionary spending, innovative marketing techniques and enticing deals lured other consumers eager for bargains and discounts. Over 61% of consumers polled indicated they had seized the opportunity to purchase items they had deferred from earlier in the year during Black Friday sales—an unexpected triumph for the retail sector. 

Retailers got creative to stoke demand, too. For instance, US retail giant Walmart launched a 23-part rom-com, “Add to Heart”, on social media. A series of commercials dressed up in a plot, it showcased over 330 products, and added a fresh way to connect with shoppers. Pop-up shops and holiday market events further enriched the holiday shopping experience.  

Now that the pandemic is over, are healthy holiday sales figures a sign that the global retail business is back?

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Marie Teo
Manager, Group Marketing Communications
Spire Research and Consulting
Phone: (65) 6838 5355
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