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How CJ'ers are Shopping for the Festive Season in 2021

19 Nov, 2021
Written by CJ

We love thinking about consumer trends. So we thought it would be fun to invite CJ'ers from across the globe (aka some of the savviest consumers we know) to tell us more about how they're shopping for the festive season this year. The result is a fascinating peek into Q4 shopping habits that we hope will spark ideas for marketers, make you think about how to streamline your own gift-buying practice, or maybe even inspire a new family tradition.

Sandrine Thompson, Strategic Insights Director, New York, NY

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I'm researching all year round on social media and bookmark products I like for future gifting. Typically, I get serious about ordering in mid-October to beat the rush but will order up until the week of Christmas if I can get local pickup for an item.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? My gift list, beyond immediate family, is determined by travel plans - if we’re seeing family or friends in person, they’ll get a gift. I'm really looking forward to more in-person events this year to justify more gift buying!

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? I'm looking for inspiration in my social feeds and magazines primarily but speaking with friends about items they have purchased for themselves or as gifts also influences what I like to buy as well. This year I will be making more of an effort to attend local artisan craft fairs to purchase locally made or vintage items.

Share your super savvy go-to shopping tactics or tips. If I shop online, it's going to be with a cashback link because I love the idea of being rewarded for shopping. If I can find an item on eBay it's always a double-win because I can get cashback while buying a used or vintage item that doesn't take new resources or materials to manufacture.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? I cannot wait to start baking!

 

Vrinda Saini, Associate Client Services Analyst, Bangalore, India

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? When Q4 begins we get to know what finances are coming in and how much of our budget can be allocated on spending for gifts.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? We try to gift something that’s both useful and trendy. In India, families usually pass on Diwali gifts (a major festival in October/November) and we wouldn't want our gift to be making the rounds LOL. Something that’s being talked about, plus is useful for the household are the two main things we think about.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? We decide on the families we’ll give gifts to and use an 'equation' to determine what to get them. For example, if we’re close to family A, we tend to spend more money and put more thought into deciding their gift. Family B with whom we don't have that close a relationship will receive a gift according to that. It goes on like this. In India, people take offense if gifts don't match up to their stature so we also consider socio-economic backgrounds.

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? We do our research completely offline. We go to the store, identify what's selling like hotcakes, see if it fits our budget, and purchase it. In the case that it doesn't, we’ll look at similar products from the competition or try to find another store that offers a cheaper price.

Share your super savvy go-to shopping tactics or tips. General conversations amongst family members living in the same geography give insight into when and where we can find the stores selling trendy items at the lowest rates possible. Since most of the shopping for Diwali gifts or wedding season (or any other festival) happens offline, we don't usually look at things online.

Who are you shopping for this year and is this different from last year or years past? The list usually remains constant. If there is a change it's usually an addition of one or two families (maximum per year). We usually shop for our extended family and family friends only. If we’re close to business partners or co-workers, they usually fall under the category of 'family friends' eventually.

What are your Q4 plans this year with friends, family, or others and how are they different from last year or years past? We'll be able to meet our family friends in person! Last year COVID hit India hard around this same time. And since we were not able to meet, gifting traditions were out of the question. We will resume this year!

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season?  I look forward to spending more and more time with family and friends in person! It feels like a long time since we had sweets, food, and drinks of the season with a fun bunch during the festive time! And not only that, but I’m also excited to wear clothes that suit the season and not pajamas (like last year) LOL!

 

Deanna Leganski, Sr. Client Development Manager, Chicago, IL

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I start researching in October and finish shopping as late as the shipping process will allow! Even then I'll sometimes do 'Buy Online Pick Up In-store' to bypass shipping cutoffs.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? Christmas has always included my entire extended family, so we had to get creative. If you were under 18 years old, you received presents from immediate family and extended family. If you were over 18, you received presents from your immediate family and $1 gifts in your stockings from everyone over the age of 18.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? I make a list of anyone who should receive a gift, add any gifts I want to give them, and text them to ask what they want if I don't have any initial ideas.

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? I mainly shop online (surprise, surprise) and only go in-store if the shipping costs are outrageous or if I'm worried about the gift shipping in time. I look for inspiration on Pinterest or I have the people go back through their saved Instagram posts/Pinterest Pins for ideas on things they don't need (because those gifts are usually boring) but really really want! :)

Who are you shopping for this year and is this different from last year or years past? Immediate family only but that's because we're not attending any family Christmases this year.

What are your Q4 plans this year with friends, family, or others and how are they different from last year or years past? This year we're not celebrating with any family, just dialing in for virtual hellos and Merry Christmases.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? HARRY POTTER SEASON! Every year we watch the Harry Potter series with the Christmas tree lit up and it's incredibly festive.

 

Marissa Moorehead, Director, Product Marketing & Content Strategy, Santa Barbara, CA

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I usually start getting ideas around Labor Day, it's great to start thinking about deals already in market to spark ideas.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? With friends, we always do either something edible (wine, cookies, tacos, etc.) or something small and fun that the whole group can enjoy. Last year we did matching pajamas (mine were taco-themed!).

Share your super savvy go-to shopping tactics or tips. I subscribe to publisher newsletters; they often have the best deals!

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? Helping my two-year-old niece decorate! She’s very particular so it should be a blast :)

 

Nayana Hosamani, Software Engineer 2, Bangalore, India

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? This year it was October 21 to November 1 for the Deepavali celebration and for New Year it starts during Christmas starting from December 20. I love to visit shops and buy in person.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? November and December become celebration season for our family, including my mother’s birthday, Deepavali, Christmas and New Year, our friends’ housewarming, and friend’s marriage - gifts for all. I’ve planned for clothes and photo frames for the celebration.

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? This time I planned for in-store and online shopping based on the discount and coupons we received.

Who are you shopping for this year and is this different from last year or years past? I mostly shop for my friends and mother.

What are your Q4 plans this year with friends, family, or others and how are they different from last year or years past? I have traveling plans in place to adventure by myself.

 

Heather Pilat, SVP, Global Finance, Westborough, MA

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I typically start online shopping on Black Friday curled up in my jammies. I generally finish within two weeks of starting, though occasionally last a bit longer for stocking stuffers that I find in person.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? My kids get three presents from Santa and stocking stuffers. Everything else is from mom and dad and Lucy (our dog). For my husband's side of the family, we draw names at Thanksgiving and then proceed to buy the person we drew some form of gift card.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? As they’re older (13 and 16), my kids convey a wish list. It's more tech/clothing/money than anything else. Instead of Back to School shopping, I usually use Christmas as an opportunity to spruce up their wardrobe. For the Secret Santa portion, we have everyone participating write three suggestions (up to $50 value).

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? 90% of my shopping is done online. I have a harder time with stocking stuffers online, so I often buy those in-store.

 

Ashley Hardy, Client Development Director, Ventura, CA

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I really try to finish shopping by Black Friday/Cyber Monday, but it never works out because I always find fun gifts after Black Friday.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? My family is big into calendars as gifts for Christmas - my mom gives us a tear-off daily calendar every year (always a different theme) and I’m in charge of making photo calendars for everyone.

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? I shop mostly online, rarely in-store. It’s too busy in person. Throughout the year, I save different posts on social media that I think would make good gifts.

Who are you shopping for this year and is this different from last year or years past? I always try to make sure that at least one charity is on my list. Every year in the office we would 'adopt' families in need and buy presents for them.

What are your Q4 plans this year with friends, family, or others and how are they different from last year or years past? My husband and I are going to Disneyworld to celebrate their 50th anniversary! I’m excited to be able to travel.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? I love the spirit of the season. My favourite part is decorating the house and especially with the time change, it is so magical turning on all the twinkling lights in the house at night.

 

Nicole Ron, SVP, Marketing & Business Systems, Santa Barbara, CA

Any Q4 gifting traditions? A little bit of everything! For close family (parents, grandparents, and siblings) we like to give one nice gift to each person. My husband's family hosts a big gathering on Christmas Eve with a competitive white elephant gift exchange that we all take pretty seriously.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? I keep track of what people say they want throughout the year and then around November, I start to narrow down on the best gifts for each person. If I haven't gotten any good hints, then I check wish lists, ask around or get creative on coming up with ideas that align with favourite places or hobbies.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole family at various gatherings throughout the year. I can't wait to hug my loved ones again after so long - my mom, grampa, nana, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I can't wait to meet some of the new additions to the family as well!

 

Chaitra TR, Associate Client Service Analyst, Bangalore, India

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? My timeline is less than a week. When I think of buying something, I look for different options available. Then calculate the pros and cons of it.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? Make a list of friends and families and customise the gifts to suit them.

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? Most of my shopping is done online, however, for clothing gifts, I prefer to shop in-store. My inspiration about recent trends comes from ads on Instagram.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? Family gathering!

 

Kim Jackson, Client Development Director, Hudson, MA

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I start shopping as early as August but sometimes I'll buy presents right after the holiday and keep them for next year! Of course, the earlier I start, the more I buy, lol.

Any Q4 gifting traditions? My husband and I typically stick to full stockings and a few gifts to open but my daughters definitely get spoiled. We also do a Secret Santa with the grandparents, aunts, and uncles for around $100.

What’s your process for building your shopping list? I love shopping and any excuse to shop so I just go for it!

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? Online. I'm your typical affiliate shopper and was even before I knew what affiliate marketing was. I have to read all the reviews and comparison shop and I can't do that in the store.

Share your super savvy go-to shopping tactics or tips. I'm a really good researcher so I can always find the same product cheaper somewhere else.

Who are you shopping for this year and is this different from last year or years past? This year we are taking a much-needed family vacation with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to Florida so gifts will be minimal, but we’re planning to do a Secret Santa while there - most likely gifts cards!

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? I always enjoy the holidays and decorating the house. Since we will be in Florida over Christmas, I might have to put up the tree on November 1st.

 

Kim Roffers, Sr. Product Manager, Milwaukee, WI

What does your Q4 shopping timeline look like? I usually think about shopping at the end of October/beginning of November. Then I forget. Then I think about it again, and so on. I try to finish by mid-December. Right when I think I’m done my kids decide to immerse themselves in completely different hobbies and interests and I scramble the last week before Christmas trying to get relevant gifts. So much for trying to save the last week before Christmas to relax!

Any Q4 gifting traditions? I focus on the kids but always get them something they need. Luckily, my kids think shoes are a big deal...hmmm, wonder where they got that from, their dad?!?!

What does your Q4 shopping journey look like? Do you shop online or in-store? Where do you look for inspiration? Almost all shopping is done online. If I know what I am looking for, I search for it, watch prices, and buy when the time is right. Of course, shipping timelines must be factored in. My young kids' lists drive my inspiration for their gifts.

What are you looking forward to the most this festive season? Young children really bring the magic back to Christmas. Their excitement is the best gift I can get! Carrying on family traditions and recipes with them, decorating, watching the Elf watch us are all favourites! Nothing tops watching holiday movies, even the same one ten times in a row, when we’re snuggled up on the couch as a family.

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