Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend 4 Percent More This Year, NRF Survey Shows

by Alex Tostado

Washington, D.C. — American consumers plan to boost their holiday spending 4 percent this season on a year-over-year basis, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insight & Analytics. The projection is based on a survey of 7,782 adult consumers.

Specifically, shoppers expect to spend an average of $1,047.83 this year, up 4 percent from last year’s total of $1,007.24, the survey findings show. Meanwhile, shoppers who are between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend an average of $1,158.63 this holiday season.

Consumer spending is grouped into three separate categories: gifts for family, friends and co-workers, at an average $658.55; non-gift holiday items such as candy and food, decorations, greeting cards and flowers at $227.26; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.

“Consumers are in good financial shape and willing to spend a little more on gifts for the special people in their lives this holiday season,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association.

Furthermore, 52 percent of shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 plan to purchase gifts for co-workers, and 82 percent of those between 18 and 24 plan to purchase gifts for their friends.

“Younger consumers are helping drive the spending increase this year,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy at Prosper Insights. “They’re not just spending on their immediate family members; they’re also treating their larger circle of co-workers and friends to gifts.”

Earlier this month, NRF released its holiday spending forecast, which calls for shoppers to spend between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion this year.

Online trends

The survey, which was conducted the first 10 days of October, found that 56 percent of shoppers plan to buy gifts online while 53 percent also plan to shop in department stores. Among online shoppers, 92 percent plan to utilize free shipping; 48 percent expect to use the buy online, pick-up-in-store service or ship to store services; and 16 percent plan to use same-day delivery, which has doubled since 2015.

For the in-store customers, NRF predicts that 51 percent will shop at discount stores; 44 percent will go to grocery stores; 34 percent will head to clothing and accessory stores; and 23 percent plan to shop at electronics stores and local small businesses.

Gift cards in demand

For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed. Clothing and accessories are on 52 percent of wish lists, followed by books/movies/music/video games (35 percent); electronics (29 percent); home décor (24 percent); jewelry (23 percent); personal care or beauty items (21 percent); sporting goods (18 percent); and home improvement items (17 percent).

Prosper Insights & Analytics provides consumer data serving the financial services, marketing technology and retail industries.

— Alex Tostado

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