November 18, 2021

Quantum Metric Holiday Retail Benchmarks Show Inventory Concerns Driving Higher Holiday Sales

Post by: Lori Niquette

  • 64 percent have already experienced out-of-stock issues
  • 41 percent spent 2 hours or more on holiday shopping in October
  • 63 percent purchased more holiday gifts at full price
  • 56 percent plan to purchase more gifts this holiday season

Colorado Springs, Colorado – (Nov. 18, 2021) Inventory concerns and heightened holiday expectations have driven 53 percent of consumers to purchase gifts that do not even have an intended recipient. This is according to new data from the inaugural Holiday Retail Benchmarks Series on shifting holiday shopping habits from Continuous Product Design (CPD) pioneer, Quantum Metric. 

Findings show that 62 percent of consumers have already experienced more out-of-stock issues than in 2020. In response, 63 percent are forgoing holiday discounts and paying for holiday gift items at full price this year to secure them early. The Quantum Metric platform saw spikes in ecommerce conversions start in mid-September and conversion rates twice as high in October 2021 than in 2020. Findings support projections that sales will peak in November when 56 percent of consumers plan to finish their holiday shopping. 

The stakes for the holidays are higher than ever, with consumers looking to make up for minimal holiday celebrations in 2020,” said Elissa Quinby, director of retail insights at Quantum Metric. “Having experienced inventory issues at the height of the pandemic, consumers are expecting the worst. This means higher sales for retailers, but also the potential for higher frustrations. It’s important that retailers continuously capture the needs of their customers to make the holiday shopping experience as seamless and personalized as possible.“ 

Other takeaways from Quantum Metric’s Holiday Retail Benchmarks include:

  • The holiday season started earlier than ever. Survey results found 58 percent of consumers have spent at least 30 minutes a day on holiday shopping since August. By October, 41 percent were already spending two hours or more a day. With consumers making more purchases earlier, 31 percent already had a monthly spend of $500 or more by the end of October. 
  • Consumers are anxious, but not frustrated. The majority (77 percent) feel behind on holiday shopping going into November. This is likely because half of consumers have 25 percent or less of their shopping done and 38 percent plan to purchase at least 50 percent more holiday gifts this year. Despite anxieties, Quantum Metric customers are seeing lower rates of customer frustration than in 2020. 
  • Mobile will drive holiday sales and customer frustration. The Quantum Metric platform shows mobile is driving an average of 62 percent of ecommerce sessions in Q4, higher than Q4, 2020 (54 percent). With more traffic, comes more frustration, as mobile is seeing frustration rates that are at least 1.5 times higher than desktop experiences. 
  • Consumers will pay for fast shipping. With inventory delays likely, 67 percent of consumers have noted they would be willing to pay more to make sure their gift arrives on time. Almost half of consumers (45 percent) would pay more than $25 for shipping to ensure they got their gift on time. Should an item be late, 40 percent of consumers give retailers just 3-5 days before they would ask for a refund. 
  • The checkout experience has evolved. With the majority of consumers (76 percent) making more small and sporadic purchases for the holidays, average order values dropped 35 percent between August and October, 2021. Consumers are also more likely to primarily pay for holiday gifts through PayPal and Google Pay (34 percent), installment plans (17 percent) or even cryptocurrency (15 percent) versus credit cards.

Quantum Metric’s Holiday Retail Benchmarks combine anonymized customer data and consumer survey insights. Today’s report is the first in a three-part series that will examine consumer shopping behaviors over the holiday season.

Survey Methodology

The Holiday Retail Benchmarks included findings from a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers (age 18+) and anonymized data from the retail customers using the Quantum Metric platform. 

About Quantum Metric

As the pioneer in Continuous Product Design, Quantum Metric helps organizations put customers at the heart of everything they do. The Quantum Metric platform empowers a customer-centric culture, using quantified empathy to align business and technical teams to effectively prioritize customers needs based on business impact. Today, Quantum Metric captures insights from 20 percent of the world’s internet users, supporting nationally recognized brands in ecommerce and retail, travel, financial services and telecommunications. In January of 2021, Quantum Metric secured its place as the first tech unicorn of the year with an above $1 billion valuation and a $200 million Series B funding round. For more information about Quantum Metric, visit