NRF’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey: consumers to spend $805.65 on average; the highest amount in the survey’s 14-year history

TOP FINDINGS OF CONSUMERS SURVEYED:

  • Average spending per person reaches $805.65, comparable with spending in 2014 holiday season ($802.45).
  • Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year, and a survey high.
  • Almost half of holiday shopping, consisting of browsing and buying, will be done online: average consumers say 46 percent of their shopping (both browsing and buying) this holiday season will be conducted online, up from 44 percent last year.
  • 21.4 percent of smartphone owners will use their device to purchase holiday merchandise this year, the highest seen since NRF first asked in 2011.
  • Nearly half (46.7%) said free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where to shop
  • 55.8 percent of holiday shoppers will splurge on themselves and/or others for non-gift items, and will spend an average of $131.59, up from $126.37 last year. ​

WASHINGTON, 2015-10-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — It’s the most wonderful time of the year for millions of Americans and this year, holiday shoppers have already added their family members to the ‘nice list.’” According to the National Retail Federation’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, consumers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa will spend an average of $805.65 on food items, decorations, gifts and more over the holiday season, the highest amount in the survey’s 14-year history and in line with last year’s $802.45. Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high.

“Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution as they look for ways to find the perfect, practical gift.”

“We continue to see positive momentum in retail sales growth, giving us reason to believe consumers will show up this holiday season as they look to take advantage of all of retailers’ promotional offerings,” continued Shay. “In an effort to attract all shoppers – from the extremely price sensitive to the online millennial, retailers will be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching, top toys and everyone’s favorite – free shipping and buy online pick up in store offers.”

Those celebrating the holidays will also spend on gifts for friends ($77.85), co-workers ($25.95) and others, such as pets and babysitters ($28.05). Average spending on decorations will reach $53.02, and $28.67 on greeting cards and postage; shoppers will also spend an average of $107.80 on food.

Buy online pick up in store, free shipping high on busy shoppers’ lists

Savvy holiday shoppers will shop around to find the perfect gift this year with most saying they will shop at discount (55.9%) and department stores (55.6%), and online (52.9%). Two in five (44.1%) will shop at grocery stores and one-third (33.4%) will shop at clothing or accessory stores.

Of those who plan to shop online, 46.5 percent say they will take advantage of retailers’ buy online pick up in store or ship-to-store options. Free shipping seems to be the most anticipated promotion however: 93.1 percent of online shoppers say they will use a free shipping offer when shopping for holiday merchandise.

Millennial online shoppers are most likely to take advantage of the instant gratification option when it comes to shipping and fulfillment: According to the survey, 16.7 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 15.9 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds will use a same-day delivery option when buying gifts, décor and other holiday items, compared to just 7.8 percent of the rest of the population.

“The surprise factor isn’t the numbers surrounding Millennials and their planned use of retailers’ innovative digital offerings, it’s the power that this cohort of adults has when it comes to influencing retailers to speak their language,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “Young adults and Millennials are incredibly savvy when it comes to finding the right gift at the right price at the right place.”

Almost half of holiday shopping – buying and browsing – will be done online

More of shoppers’ time this holiday season will be spent browsing and buying online compared to last year — and the 10 years NRF has been tracking this. The survey found nearly half (46.1%) of holiday shopping will be conducted online, up from 44.4 percent last year and the highest recorded since NRF first asked in 2006.

High level of mobile engagement among holiday shoppers is expected

There’s no question that consumers have adopted mobile technologies into their way of life. And when it comes to the holiday season, many smartphone and tablet owners already have big plans for their handheld devices. The survey found that 21.4 percent of smartphone owners will use their device to purchase holiday merchandise this year, the highest seen since NRF first asked in 2011. Additionally, more will use their smartphone to research products (37.9% vs. 35.8% last year) and to look for a way to connect with a retail store by looking up retailer information like store hours and directions (28.4% vs. 26.9% last year). One in five (20.3%) will specifically use their smartphone to look up product availability in a store.

Tablet owners plan to be just as mobile-active. Nearly half (47.5%) will use their device to research products and 34.5 percent will use their tablet to make a holiday purchase of some kind, similar to last year (33%); nearly one-quarter (23.5%) will check for in-store availability from their tablet.

One for you, two for me: “self-gifting” spending up

In addition to shopping for gifts for their loved ones, holiday shoppers will take advantage of discounts to treat themselves and/or their family members to a non-gift item. The survey found 55.8 percent will splurge on themselves and/or others for non-gift items, and will spend an average of $131.59, up from $126.37 last year.

Proof holiday early birds exist

For the 14th year in a row, NRF’s holiday spending survey found that approximately 40 percent of holiday shoppers say they begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. Another 41.5 percent say they begin their holiday shopping in November, and 18.7 will begin sometime in December.

When asked why they begin shopping early, most of those that responded that they shop before or in September or October say it’s to spread out their budget (61.4%). Another 48 percent say they want to avoid the November and December crowds and 46 percent do so to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping.

Sales and discounts, quality of merchandise tops for holiday shoppers

When asked which factors are the most important in their decision on where to shop during the holiday season, nearly three-quarters (73.1%) said sales or price discounts are a factor, and six in 10 (60.7%) said quality of merchandise. Additionally, 58.6 percent said selection of merchandise and two in five (45.3%) said a convenient location helped them decide.

And when it comes to online shopping, 46.7 percent said free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where to shop, and nearly three in 10 (28.3%) responded that easy-to-use websites or mobile sites were important to them.

Additionally, 38 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say that helpful, knowledgeable customer service is an important factor when it comes to deciding where to shop, compared to 28.4 percent of other adults. And one in 10 (10.3%) 18- to 24-year-olds say layaway services are important in their destination decision.

Gift cards maintain their spot at top of wish lists

Those struggling with finding the perfect gift this year should look no further than a retailer’s gift card section. According to the survey, nearly six in 10 (58.8%) consumers celebrating the holidays say they would like to receive gift cards as a gift, making this the ninth year in a row that gift cards have topped the list of most requested gift items. Close behind is clothing or clothing accessories (52.2%) and books, CDs, DVDs and video games (40.5%) — though the latter is the lowest percentage seen since NRF started asking.

About the Survey
The NRF 2015 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 7,276 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, October 5-13, 2015. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues. www.ProsperDiscovery.com

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. nrf.com

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Kathy Grannis Allen
(202) 783-7971
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

NRF’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey: Bargain hunters are taking their time with their holiday shopping to take advantage of bigger discounts over Thanksgiving weekend

WASHINGTON, 2014-11-13— /EPR Retail News/ — Procrastinators and bargain hunters alike are taking their time getting started with their holiday shopping bonanza, possibly to take advantage of deeper discounts over Thanksgiving weekend and late in the season. According to NRF’s Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 45.6 percent of holiday shoppers say they haven’t started shopping yet, relatively flat with last years’ 46.2 percent but the lowest in the survey’s seven-year history.

“Many consumers are going to wait and see how great the promotions will be later this season before making any commitments,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers have reacted to this ‘wait and see’ mentality with fewer October deals and a much quieter entry into November, when we’ll start to see retailers ramp up with offers for exclusive merchandise, deep discounts and unique online savings opportunities.”

The survey found that while slightly fewer people haven’t started shopping yet, 20.6 percent have finished 10 percent or less of their shopping, while 12.4 percent have completed about one-quarter of their lists; 2.2 percent are saying they can sit back and relax as they have already finished their shopping for friends and family.

Unsurprisingly, apparel, toys and video games will be popular gift items this year. The survey found six in 10 (60.9%) will buy clothing and accessories, 46.3 percent will buy books, CDs, DVDs and video games, and two in five (42%) will buy toys. Likely having loaded up on wearable technology items and new smartphones throughout the year, slightly fewer people will buy electronic items as gifts (30.7% vs. 33%). Some people are in for a real treat: 24 percent of shoppers will buy jewelry for a friend or family member, the highest percent since 2006. Gift cards continue as a favorite for both shoppers and recipients as six in 10 (60%) will buy gift cards, similar to the 59.2 percent who planned to do so last year. In an October NRF survey, 60 percent of shoppers also said they’d like to receive gift cards, marking gift cards the most requested gift item for eight years in a row.

Shoppers look for inspiration for gifts from every corner, and with the innovative creation of retailers’ wish lists, many consumers this holiday season will take to the web to point loved ones to specific, perfect gift ideas. The survey found 32.1 percent say they will look for inspiration on wish lists, up from 28.8 percent last year. Others will conduct online searches (47.7%), discuss options with family and friends (41.7%), check out advertising circulars (34.3%) and email advertisements (20.1%), and even search Facebook (10.6%).

“Retailers make holiday shoppers’ job easy with so many options to find the perfect gift, and with little room to waste on gifts that don’t make sense, consumers today want to be sure what they buy is used and enjoyed by their loved ones,” said Prosper’s Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow. “On the hunt for bargains, quality merchandise that is unique and even exclusive, gift givers this holiday season will seek out both practical and indulgent gift items, though being sure not to break the bank.”

When it comes to how shoppers will pay for their gifts, nearly four in 10 (38%) will use their credit card, the most in the survey’s history and up from 28.5 percent last year; one in five (21.6%) will use cash and 38.4 percent will use their debit or check card. Just 2.1 percent will use a check, the lowest in the survey’s history.

When broken down by age group, young adults ages 18-24 are the least likely to use credit to pay for gifts at just 17.7 percent, and 65+ are the most likely to use credit cards at 56 percent. Nearly half of 18-24 year olds (48.9%) plan to use their debit or check card to buy gift items.

About the Survey

The NRF 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 6,593 consumers and was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics, November 3-10, 2014. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Prosper Insights and Analytics delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues.www.ProsperDiscovery.com

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the critical role that retail plays in driving innovation. www.nrf.com.

Kathy Grannis
(202) 783-7971
press@nrf.com
(855) NRF-Press

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