Snowy outdoor holiday shopping plaza, with dozens of shoppers in winter gear

Memorable experiences top 2021 holiday wish lists

Make it memorable. That’s the experience most shoppers want this holiday season after missing festivities and get-togethers last year, according to our first Affirm Consumer Spend Report.

And shoppers may shell out more for that experience: A Deloitte report forecasts holiday spending to grow 9% this year. Whether your business offers travel-related experiences, unique furnishings and games, or specialty foods, aim to win hearts and minds if you want to win more wallets.

Our survey was conducted in August 2021 with 2,000 U.S. adults. The results offer insights that can help you convert more customers this holiday shopping season.

Making up for lost time

The emphasis on making the holiday season memorable is driving both spending and gifting plans.

  • 48% plan to spend more money this holiday season to make it memorable because they couldn’t celebrate as usual in 2020

  • The #1 gift respondents plan to purchase are items that help create a memorable experience (like tickets to a concert or sporting event) 

    2 graphic treatments of data highlights from the 2021 holiday spending trends

No place like vacation for the holidays

Consumer demand for travel remains strong, and vacations top many wish lists.

  • More than half (59%) agree they would rather take a vacation than have a traditional family get-together this holiday season 

  • A vacation is the #1 gift respondents are hoping to receive this season 

Holiday spending comes early

Like last year, shoppers plan to begin their holiday spending long before Black Friday, and many plan to use pay-over-time solutions to help them stay on budget.

  • 61% of respondents no longer wait for Cyber Monday or Black Friday sales to get started on holiday shopping

  • 61% plan to start holiday shopping in October 

  • 56% are interested in using pay-over-time solutions for holiday shopping, and a majority of these shoppers (69%) will use a pay-over-time solution to help keep them on budget (even if they could pay for the item in full)

“In addition to getting a head start on their holiday shopping, consumers are taking advantage of flexible payment solutions to help them spend responsibly this year,” said Silvija Martincevic, Affirm’s Chief Commercial Officer. “With Affirm, consumers can responsibly navigate holiday spending by spreading out their purchases into simple biweekly or monthly payments.”

For more ideas on how you can attract holiday shoppers early and create a memorable holiday season—for customers and your business—see our 6 tips for holiday preparation.