Holiday shoppers plan to spend more this season than last

Things are looking up for this year’s holiday shopping.   An annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics found that consumers plan to spend an average of $1,047.83 for the holiday season, which is up from the $1007.24 they said they would spend last year. Among 35 to 44 year olds, expectations for spending are even higher. This age group plans to spend $1,158.63.

Overall, the increase in spending brings estimates of retail sales in November and December to between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion, representing and increase between 3.8 percent and 4.8 percent over 2018 retail holiday sales.

Following are some other findings from the NRF survey that can help you in planning holiday promotions for retail products and well as treatments.

Top spending categories

The NRF survey finds that consumers will spend their holiday shopping on three main categories, including gifts for family, friends and coworkers at an average of $658.55; non-gift holiday items such as food, candy, decorations, cards and so forth at an average of $227.26; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.

Online or in store

Regarding where consumers plan to spend their holiday dollars, more than half (56 percent) say they plan to shop online. Among online shoppers, 92 percent expect to take advantage of free shipping and 48 percent will buy online, pick-up in store or ship to store services. Another 16 percent plan to use same-day delivery, a figure that has doubled since 2015.

Also, the majority of shoppers, 53 percent will shop in department stores and 51 percent will go to discount stores.  Relative to other channels, 44 percent will go to grocery stores, 34 percent to clothing and accessory stores and 23 percent each to electronics stores and small local business.

What drives sales?

The largest factor in choosing a particular retailer during the holidays was sales and discounts, cited by 70 percent. The next largest factor was quality of merchandise (57 percent), free shipping and shipping promotions (46 percent) and convenient locations (44 percent.)

Most popular wish list items

For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 52 percent, 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).

Whether clients are buying gifts for friends, family members or coworkers, they are cost conscious so deals and promotions will matter as much as the convenience of making purchases online. If you don’t already make gift cards and retail items available on your website, now may be a time to start thinking about ecommerce.