Sales, Gift Cards, and Experiences: Square and Afterpay Holiday Shopping Trends Revealed

SAN FRANCISCO–()–Despite the Rising Cost of Living, New Research from Square and Afterpay Reveals Renewed Excitement Among Consumers and Sellers as the Holiday Season Approaches; 36% of buyers are more likely to increase their holiday spending and 64% of sellers expect sales to grow or stay the same compared to last holiday season.

The Square and Afterpay Festive Forecast reports a nearly equal weight split between online (53%) and in-store (47%) shopping preferences, demonstrating the need for retailers to meet consumers everywhere they want to shop. As a result, Square and Afterpay found that businesses planned to sell on social media (59%), marketing campaigns (38%) and SMS (16%). In anticipation of increased store footfall, Square businesses also report plans to hire more staff (16%) and increase staff hours (23%).

“Our hope is that COVID and inflation do not affect consumer spending in the months ahead. As a business owner, hiring and inventory have been the two most difficult issues to manage this year, as the costs of both are increasing dramatically. We’ve been busy preparing for the holidays, and since we had record sales last year, our goal this year is to match or beat those numbers,” said Blake Grandon, owner of Bethesda Mania Partya party supply retailer in Bethesda, MD that uses Square for online and in-person retail.

With holiday savings at the top of consumer concerns, one in six Americans plan to use a BNPL service like Afterpay to budget their finances during the gift-giving season. To balance out extra spending, almost half (44%) will look to buy an item if it’s on sale, and a quarter (24%) plan to cancel or stop certain activities such as subscriptions.

Key results from the festive predictions include:

  • On your marks, get set, gift: Three in four Americans (77%) plan to do all their holiday shopping by December, while the rest will wait until December and the week before Christmas to finish their shopping lists.
  • Gift of giving: Gift cards will be the most popular gift to give, especially among older generations. Data from Square confirms this trend, with gift card sales peaking during the holiday season and a third of annual sales expected to occur in December alone.
  • Spend beyond gifts: 53% of Americans said they would spend funds on food and drink, followed by socializing (36%) and decorations (26%) in addition to gifts.
  • Join the FEASTivities: Roasted potatoes (88%) were the top food Americans are eager to indulge in, while nearly half (48%) want to cut out eggnog.
  • A Divided Sprinkled Christmas: More than half (55%) of Americans would love to receive alcohol as a gift, but the other half (45%) would hate to receive it.
  • Fill up on ideas: Most Americans attribute gift inspiration to friends and family (43%), followed by in-store environments (37%).
  • happy motives: Three in five Americans (56%) say they buy gifts to show love and care, while a third (34%) want to show gratitude and appreciation, and a quarter (25%) buy gifts because they think it’s planned for the holiday season.

With these results in mind, Square and Afterpay offer key ways businesses can prepare for the busy holiday season ahead:

  • Leverage omnichannel solutions to increase revenue and meet shoppers where they are, while clearly communicating your Afterpay store’s offerings in person and online.

  • Start promoting gift cards as soon as possible, presenting them as a gift option through marketing messages and social media.

  • Since consumers trust referrals from friends and family, consider implementing a referral or loyalty program to reward customers and retain buyers.

Over the past year, Square has seamlessly integrated Afterpay into its point-of-sale software, unlocking BNPL functionality to millions of online and in-person sellers. Square and Afterpay transactions have an average order value that is 70% higher than other payment methods, helping to boost revenue this holiday season.1

For more information on holiday shopping, visit here.

Methodology

Consumer findings were based on a survey of 1,500 U.S. consumers between August 29 and September 9, 2022. Core sample data was nationally representative by age, gender and place, with an additional sample of 500 Gen Z and Millennials.

Retail industry findings are based on a survey of 573 Square sellers in the United States conducted between September 21 and September 27, 2022, and analysis of Square and Afterpay retail industry data. retail in the United States from July and September 2022.

1 Figures as of June 30, 2022

About Square

Square helps sellers manage and grow their businesses more easily with its integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions. Square offers purpose-built software to manage complex restaurant, retail and professional services operations, versatile e-commerce tools, integrated financial services and banking products, buy now, pay later through Afterpay, personnel management and payroll, and much more – all working together to save salespeople time and effort. Millions of sellers around the world trust Square to power their business and help them thrive in the economy. Square is part of Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ), a global technology company specializing in financial services. For more information, visit www.squareup.com.

About Afterpay

Afterpay is transforming the way we pay by allowing anyone to buy products immediately and pay over time – enabling simple, transparent and responsible spending. We are on a mission to propel an economy in which everyone is a winner.

Afterpay is offered by thousands of preferred retailers worldwide and used by millions of active global customers. Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, where it is known as Clearpay. Afterpay is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ).

Michael N. Clark