skip to main content

Sales, Gift Cards, and Experiences: Square and Afterpay Holiday Shopping Trends Revealed


Square and Afterpay’s new Festive Forecast points to optimistic consumer and seller sentiment this holiday season

Despite the rising cost of living, new research from Square and Afterpay reveals renewed excitement by both consumers and sellers heading into the festive season – with 36% of shoppers more likely to increase their holiday spending, and 64% of sellers expecting sales to grow or remain the same compared to last holiday season.

The Square and Afterpay Festive Forecast reports an almost equal weight distribution between online (53%) and in-store (47%) shopping preferences – demonstrating the need for retailers to meet consumers anywhere they want to shop. As a result, Square and Afterpay found businesses plan to sell on social media (59%), marketing campaigns (38%), and text message (16%). With anticipation of increased store foot traffic, Square businesses also report they plan to hire more staff (16%) and increase staff hours (23%).

“Our hope is that COVID and inflation don’t affect consumer spending in the coming months. As a business owner, hiring and inventory have been the two most difficult issues to deal with this year, as costs for both are increasing significantly. It’s been busy preparing for the holidays, and since we had record holiday sales last year, our goal this year is to match or beat those numbers,” said Blake Grandon, Owner of Party Mania Bethesda, a party supply retailer in Bethesda, MD, who uses Square for online and in-person retail.

With holiday savings top of mind for consumers, one in six Americans plan to use a BNPL service like Afterpay to budget their finances during the gift giving period. To balance additional spending, nearly half (44%) will look to purchase an item if it is on sale, and a quarter (24%) plan on canceling or stopping certain activities such as subscriptions.