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    Holiday Shopper Insights: Why 62% of Shoppers Plan To Treat Themselves This Season

    July 11, 2024
    14 minute read
    Holiday Shopper Insights: Why 62% of Shoppers Plan To Treat Themselves This Season

    We might be a few months away from the holiday season, but with 27% of shoppers starting to buy their holiday gifts as early as October, according to Salsify’s “2024 Holiday Consumer Research” report, there’s no time like the present (pun intended) to plan your winter campaigns.

    And, with Salsify’s holiday consumer research showing that many shoppers treat themselves when buying gifts for others, there’s an opportunity this holiday season to capitalize on it.

    Shoppers Plan To Treat Themselves This Holiday Season

    This year, 22% of Generation Zers (Gen Zers) and 17% of millennials plan to spend more during major holiday shopping dates than last year — including spending more on themselves.

    Salsify research found that 61% of shoppers treat themselves while they work through their gift list, whether it’s taking advantage of a buy one, get one free (BOGO) offer or because they impulse buy something they see and like.

    Just like they plan to spend more in general, 68% of Gen Zers and 73% of millennials are more likely to practice self-spending. Baby boomers are less likely, with 53% choosing to ignore their personal wishlist when shopping for others. 

    Why Shoppers Choose To Treat Themselves While Shopping for Others

    The BBC reports that, while shoppers are holding back on splurge purchases this year, they’re still buying “pick-me-up” products. A “the lipstick effect” phenomenon tends to happen during tough economic times, seeing shoppers indulge in affordable splurges when times are tight.

    Punchline reports that 84% of U.K. shoppers say treating themselves during economic downturns and cost-of-living crises is important. But the type of treats they buy themselves are changing. Fifty-five percent of consumers say, “I’m still buying treats for myself, they’re just smaller.” 

    This mindset might fuel shoppers treating themselves at the holidays. It often feels less indulgent to buy yourself a small treat alongside others than it does to buy a treat in isolation. 

    But there could be other reasons too. The holiday season is rife with discounts and deals — something many shoppers choose to capitalize on to save money. A buy one, get one free deal is the perfect opportunity to get that blush they’ve always wanted, while huge price drops make it easier to justify a long-awaited purchase.  

    6 Tactics That Encourage Shoppers To Treat Themselves

    1. Buy One, Get One Free Promotions

    BOGO is the ultimate way for shoppers to treat themselves because they’re essentially getting an item for themselves for free while still getting the gifts they need for others. 

    Bath & Body Works buy one, get one free deal 

    Image Source: Bath & Body Works

    Bath & Body Works regularly runs buy one, get one free deals on its candles and body care products. 

    Do it yourself: Create BOGO deals that incorporate your bestsellers or products commonly used as treats, such as accessories, snacks, alcohol, and body care products. 

    2. Gifts With Purchases

    Many shoppers won’t go out of their way to buy a treat for themselves when they’re shopping for others. But they’re hardly going to turn it down if it’s sent to them for free. Sending a free gift with every order that either hits a certain price point or includes a certain number of items means shoppers can treat themselves without guilt.

    Bobbi Brown Cosmetics offering two free gifts for $100+ purchases

    Image Source: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

    Bobbi Brown Cosmetics offers shoppers not one, but two free gifts when they spend more than $100. This creates an additional incentive: Shoppers are more likely to spend more to unlock the freebie, which increases the average order value (AOV)

    Do it yourself: Encourage shoppers to spend more (and treat themselves in the process) by sending a free gift with every order over a certain amount. 

    3. Loyalty Programs and Reward Schemes

    Reward your best shoppers with deals, discounts, and treats for themselves when they buy gifts for others this holiday season. You can use a points system that can be cashed out when it hits a certain amount, or you can let shoppers unlock freebies by taking specific actions or buying specific products. 

    Luisaviaroma Magic Ball 

    Image Source: Luisaviaroma

    Luisaviaroma gamified the holiday season for its most loyal customers. Shoppers could win prizes and gain points by spinning the magic eight ball. They could then use these points to shop the brand’s product line or win a treat for themselves

    Do it yourself: Show your best customers you value them this holiday season with extra points or prizes if they spend money in your store. 

    4. Percentage Off Their Next Purchase

    Lots of brands offer a percentage discount on a first order, but offering a percentage discount on a shopper’s second order means they might come back and shop for themselves. 

    Imagine they’ve just bought a foot spa for their mother-in-law. The post-purchase sequence includes a 10% discount on their next purchase — but guess what, they’ve already bought the foot spa. In this case, they might use the discount on a product for themselves instead. 

    Function of Beauty Offers $20 of your $70 Order

    Image Source: Function of Beauty

    Function of Beauty offers shoppers an irresistible discount if they spend $70 or more. This encourages customers to increase their basket value to save money. 

    Do it yourself: Either offer existing customers a discount on their next purchase or encourage them to spend more by adding a discount to baskets of a certain value. 

    5. Create Product Bundles 

    Product bundles introduce shoppers to more products in your catalog, but they also present the perfect opportunity for shoppers to treat themselves. When buying a bundle, they receive items they can gift and items they can keep. 

    Sephora Offers Product Bundles 

    Image Source: Sephora

    Sephora often packages up similar items in a bundle so shoppers can try out different products. However, this also creates a way for shoppers to treat themselves while buying small gifts for the office, Secret Santa, and neighbors. 

    Do it yourself: Bundle together your bestsellers or a line of similar products so shoppers can get a little something for themselves when shopping for others. 

    6. Free Shipping When They Spend a Certain Amount

    A study by Civic Science revealed that 46% of shoppers consider free shipping the most important thing when buying gifts during the holiday season. Adding free shipping when shoppers reach a certain price point can encourage them to spend more or add an item or two for themselves to their basket (and can improve the overall holiday shopping experience).  

    Drunk Elephant 

    Image Source: Drunk Elephant

    Drunk Elephant offers free ground shipping on all orders, but it also offers faster delivery (two days) for shoppers who spend over $200. 

    Do it yourself: Offer free shipping (or faster shipping) to customers who spend a certain amount with you. 

    Help Shoppers Treat Themselves This Holiday Season

    Shoppers are keen to treat themselves this holiday season, so give them a hand. Implement ecommerce strategies that encourage them to treat themselves when shopping for others. Consider sending free gifts, bundling items, or promoting BOGO offers. 

    Salsify Holiday Toolkit Featured Image

    The Ultimate Ecommerce Holiday Toolkit

    Our ecommerce holiday toolkit includes a new consumer research report with detailed insights on how and when holiday shoppers plan to spend and cheat sheets that break down holiday product search queries across 10 different verticals.


    Written by: Lizzie Davey

    Lizzie Davey (she/her) is a freelance writer and content strategist for ecommerce software brands. Her specialty is combining customer research with actionable copy to create pieces that people actually want to read. Over the past 10 years, she's worked with top industry brands to bring their vision to life and build...

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    The Ultimate Ecommerce Holiday Toolkit Our ecommerce holiday toolkit includes a new consumer research report with detailed insights on how and when holiday shoppers plan to spend and cheat sheets that break down holiday product search queries across 10 different verticals. CHECK OUT TOOLKIT