Recent news headlines can lead to stress and anxiety leading up to the holiday 2022 season. According to a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value 1, fluctuating gas prices, new COVID outbreaks, supply shortages, and economic hardship could all influence how consumers celebrate this year. Their survey found that if consumers must make tradeoffs with their holiday budgets, 64% will reduce their travel spend, while 36% will spend less on physical goods. In addition, according to a recent survey by KPMG2 , 85% percent of consumers surveyed described themselves as somewhat, moderately, or extremely concerned about inflation.
The combination of these forces will add additional pressure on consumers and businesses during an already stressful time of year. This will have an outsized influence on health and wellbeing. However, looking through a different lens, there are opportunities and potential benefits that will emerge.
How to Create Value in These Stressful Inflationary Times
The important theme emerging is personalization which spans across 3 key areas in education and discovery, efficiency and health and wellness. These 3 areas, which are discussed below, can help infuse calm, creativity and connectedness into the holiday season and keeping the consumer at the center of the decision-making is key. This by definition is the value exchange between a brand and its products and the consumer.
1) Education and discovery:
Educated and personalized recommendations can help take some of the stress out of holiday shopping lists and provide new ideas for party planning, gifting, recipes and festivities. Helping consumers get ahead of their lists will alleviate last minute holiday stress, avoid potential backorders and give them a sense of relief in being able to keep up with the ongoing holiday to-dos. They might even find value and joy in an added element of “surprise and delight” with their holiday orders, such as discovering ways to enhance charitable giving to causes that are personally important or ways to help others in need, in a local community or around the globe with the purchase.
This can help reduce stress by simplifying decision making, allowing more time for other matters.
Opportunity exists to further streamline and integrate multiple task-monitoring tools to manage data and ongoing to-do lists more effectively and efficiently. This will allow businesses to have a more holistic view of their customers and focus on marketing around solving for the customer’s needs, especially as most people are willing to provide their personal information and preferences when there is an equitable value exchange and the information and services provided are beneficial to them.
Ultimately, it is that balance of trust in exchange for the benefit of increased personalization and capabilities – a win-win for customers and businesses.
3) Health monitoring and tracking:
The holiday season can take a toll on physical and mental health. Trackers that help monitor fitness, sleep and nutrition can help motivate healthy habits. Other apps specifically designed to maintain calm and reduce stress or anxiety such as by offering friendly reminders to be extra kind to ourselves and others could help release some of the “do everything perfectly” burdens.
Companies that go the extra mile to show empathy create longer term consumer affinity and leave a lasting positive feeling and experience from the interactions which then creates customer loyalty.
In a world where everyone is expected to do more with less, companies can give more with less effort from the customers by providing them with targeted and personalized content, solutions and experiences that help make day-to-day life a little easier. It all starts with being customer centric and putting the needs of the customers first. Provide them with value, allowing them to de-anonymize themselves and opt-in. This is not just privacy compliant, but the right way to do it to engage customers.
An IBM report, aptly entitled, Customers Want It All 3, helps to sum it up nicely. The key is understanding what consumers really want and enabling experiences to deliver. Let’s continue to lead with the consumer at the center of business decisions to meet, or even better, exceed customer expectations.
Happy holidays and for more insights, reach out to the authors on LinkedIn.
Graphics by Daniel Stark / Stark Design.
1 The 2022 Holiday Shopping and Travel Report, IBM Institute of Business Value,
2 Inflation Will Impact How Holiday Shoppers Buy, And Who Gets Gifts, Forbes, KPMG, https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanverdon/2022/10/05/inflation-will-impact-how-holiday-shoppers-buy-and-who-gets-gifts/?sh=2eb138 4e40cd
3 Consumers Want it All, IBM Institute of Business Value,