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Holiday enthusiasts more likely to buy gifts early

November 8, 2021

Various consumer behaviors make up five holiday personality types, from those who are ecstatic to those who do not care. Image credit: Unsplash


Consumers’ attitudes about the holiday season, ranging from anticipation to apathy, can directly impact their shopping behavior.

According to installment payment provider Klarna’s report “How identity impacts the way we celebrate the holidays,” those who are more enthusiastic about the holidays are more likely to spend more on gifts. Based on responses from a global survey, researchers identified five key holiday personas.

“We explored key behavioral research on which parts of our psychology are impacting our attitudes and feelings towards the holiday season and our approach to shopping for gifts,” said Kate Nightingale, consumer psychologist, in the report.

The online survey was sent out in collaboration with Dynata to a sample of more than 18,000 consumers across 18 countries, with more than 1,000 respondents per country.

The participants were asked a set of 54 questions which allowed researchers to distinguish attitudes towards shopping and the holidays. A segmentation model was built resulting in five global holiday personas.

Five personas
At one end of the holiday cheer spectrum, enthusiasts and masters of festivities love the holiday season the most. Both of these personalities greatly enjoy gift shopping, almost double the global average, and 91 percent want to find meaningful gifts.

Enthusiasts start their holiday shopping in early November and have decorations up by early December. Despite their love of finding the perfect gifts, 84 percent seek out bargains and look for environmentally sustainable options.

Klarna also found that the LGBTQ+ community is the most eco-conscious, with 48 percent wanting their gifts to be environmentally friendly.

Globally, 28 percent of consumers are enthusiasts, with many in Poland, 54 percent, and Italy, 42 percent. It is also the most common persona in the United States at 32 percent.

According to Klarna’s survey, Italy ranked number one in consumers wanting to give sustainable gifts. Image credit: Valentino

When it comes to spending time with friends, U.S. consumers score higher than the global average, 37 percent, with 53 percent saying they will be with friends this holiday season.

Enthusiasts are also more likely to celebrate the holidays with families, while masters of festivities enjoy celebrating with everyone.

Only 10 percent of global consumers are masters of festivities, led by Austria with 16 percent while one in six Americans are masters of festivities.

Masters of festivities lean into holiday tropes, with 76 percent of consumers wearing ugly Christmas sweaters and listening to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. They also shop and decorate earlier so as to not disrupt their social calendars.

Moving slightly down the spectrum, gatherers are family-focused and do not love shopping as much as their enthusiast or master of festivities counterparts, but are interested in providing their loved ones with meaningful gifts.

Globally, 28 percent are gatherers. These consumers tends to have more traditional views of the holidays, and prioritizes spending time with family or friends.

“Gatherers put their family — be it biological or chosen — first,” Ms. Nightingale said. “Their key focus is on their close relationships, so personal meaning is very important to them when giving, and receiving, gifts.”

Following gatherers are pragmatists who, like their name, take a sensible approach to the holidays.

They split their time between family, friends and coworkers, and aim to get shopping done regardless of their feelings toward the holiday season — about 50 percent are not sure whether they love the holidays or do not care about them.

Globally, 21 percent are pragmatists, with one in four Belgians identifying as this persona.

Pragmatists tend to stick to budgets and plan their holidays, but are not necessarily overjoyed about the season. Image credit: Klarna

The fifth holiday persona is the nay-sleigher. Making up 14 percent of global consumers, many of whom are in New Zealand and Sweden, these individuals are not particularly drawn to the holiday hype.

On average, they purchase three gifts, and tend to do so spontaneously — 54 percent will buy a gift if they see something someone might enjoy. A third of nay-sleighers feel bored by the holidays.

To help consumers find their holiday persona, Klarna has created a quiz that provides personalized tips and tricks for navigating the holiday season.

Together with friends, family
Beyond the buzz of holiday shopping and gift-giving, people are craving to be with loved ones this holiday season, especially since COVID-19 upended most holiday plans last year.

Brands are tapping into these desires for togetherness through both heartfelt and cinematic holiday campaigns.

Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo celebrated the warmth of friendship and joy of being together for its holiday campaign.

Through a collection of still imagery and short films, Ferragamo’s “It’s Movie O’Clock!” campaign shares the story of a group of friends who have reunited for dinner and a movie. Showcasing various items from the brand’s holiday collection, the cast of actors, composers and musicians emote festivity and warmth (see story).

Italian fashion house Prada has brought the worlds of fashion and film together in a cinematic voyage for its 2021 holiday campaign.

Starring actors Julia Garner, Shira Haas, Louis Patridge and Taylor Russel, “A Midwinter’s Night Dream” tells the story of four individuals who trek through frozen terrain in the pursuit of returning home. With this project and campaign, Prada invites audiences to celebrate cinema, fashion, community and creativity (see story).