Consumers Already Holiday Shopping to Avoid the Supply Chain Grinch


As if a pandemic wasn’t enough, a new Oracle Retail consumer research study shows that shoppers are worried that supply chain and delivery delays will wreak havoc on the holidays. In response, 46% of Brits have already started holiday shopping or plan to shop earlier than usual. Of the respondents, 14% are even willing to pay more to ensure faster or guaranteed delivery, and 18% plan to order more gifts in case some are delayed or cancelled. Those numbers jump to 21% and 23%, respectively, for Millennials*. Others are taking an easier path, with 25% of people (especially Millennials at 35%) noting they will buy more gift cards this year.

“As we see in the news, the supply chain challenges are a global reality. Regardless, consumers will still measure retailers on their ability to deliver on their wish lists this holiday season,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president, and general manager, Oracle Retail. “Accountability will be the name of the game. Retailers must have clear visibility into their inventory, a realistic timeline for the fulfillment, and a plan to communicate clearly throughout the order and delivery processes. Through transparency and execution, retailers can earn trust with their customers and build the potential for future loyalty.”

The survey polled 5,728 global consumers, including 528 in the United Kingdom, in September 2021. The Untold Insights survey asked consumers about their pandemic shopping habits and plans for holiday shopping. Unwrap your complimentary copy of the report.

Sixty-six percent of respondents will have gifts delivered to their home, but many are worried that shipping times won’t meet their expectations and will be late – if they arrive at all. To ease their concerns, 58% of respondents say granular tracking of delivery status is very important.

  • 38% of respondents say fast delivery determines whom they order from. Three percent of consumers expect same-day delivery, 37% 1–2-day delivery, and 50% 3–5-day delivery
  • 32% worry gifts will arrive later than anticipated
  • 28% are concerned gifts won’t arrive at all

Adding insult to injury, even if the package finally gets to its destination, 22% of people fear porch pirates may steal it!

  • 39% agree that out of stock items constitute a bad shopping experience; 36% say unexpected delays of receipt of goods or services will make for a bad shopping experience
  • 38% say they are attracted to brands/companies based on product availability
  • 27% won’t wait for a retailer to restock before they go somewhere else

Despite the lure of low prices, many consumers are not willing to wait for store holidays to get what they need. Just 29% of shoppers said they would participate in Amazon Prime Day(s) and 35% would shop Black Friday sales. A smaller number (15%) say they will take partake in Cyber Monday events.

Buy your parents a gift card

When asked what gifts they plan to buy more of this year, gift cards emerged as the top contender:

  • 25% plan to buy more gift cards (40% of Boomers and 28% of women said that is the gift they would also most like to receive)
  • 21% plan to buy more fashion apparel
  • 21% more footwear
  • 30% more beauty products


They may tell you they love the gift, but more than half of Gen Z are already planning to return it. And these return interactions raise stakes for retailers: 38% of respondents said a bad returns experience means they won’t shop with the offending retailer again. Boomers were the least forgiving, with 50% citing a bad returns experience would prevent them from shopping with a retailer again.

  • 40% of people plan to make some gift returns (57% for Millennials)
  • 19% plan to return half to all their gifts (27% for Millennials)
  • 66% of Gen Z shoppers will return at least some gifts, while 89% of Boomers have no plans to return their gifts


Delta not denting holiday shopping

Consumers seem less concerned about the pandemic, with more shoppers opting to buy in-store this year:

  • 13% of consumers plan to shop mostly in-store, down from 15% in 2020; 46% are planning both in-store shopping and online shopping, up from 45% last year
  • 24% feel comfortable shopping in an outdoor setting, while 29% feel comfortable shopping at an indoor mall
  • When asked what makes them feel most comfortable about going out to shop, 20% said mask mandates; 16% vaccination proof for guests; 14% social distancing

To learn more about how Oracle Retail is helping its customers have a happy holiday season, visit:


*Gen Z (18-24); Millennials (25-39); Gen X (40-54); Boomers (55+)