US shoppers planning to spend 4% more during 2019 holiday season
A new study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) has revealed that U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4% from the $1,007.24 that they said they would spend last year.
Conducted in collaboration with Prosper Insights & Analytics, the results of the annual consumer survey appear to complement the figures presented by the holiday spending forecast published by the NRF in September, which predicted that retail sales in November and December 2019 will increase between 3.8% and 4.2%, totaling between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
According to the latest survey, most consumers are intending to split their spend across different channels and store types, with 56% of shoppers intending to make online purchases, 53% planning to go to department stores and 51% heading to grocery stores. Clothing and accessory stores also proved popular, with 34% of survey respondents saying they had plans to shop at this kind of establishment.
Once more, sales and discounts were the most important factor influencing consumers’ choice of where to shop, cited by 70% of those surveyed. Quality merchandise came in second place (mentioned by 59%), followed by merchandise selection (57%), free shipping and shipping promotions (46%) and convenient location (44%).
Among those who said they will be shopping online, an overwhelming 92% stated that they would be choosing free shipping, while a respectable 42% said that they intended to use buy online pick up in store services, demonstrating how integral these options – once seen as extra perks – have now become to the e-commerce experience.
16% said that they would be taking advantage of same-day delivery – double last year’s figure – with the biggest adherents to this service being younger consumers between the ages of 18 and 24, 32% of whom said they planned to use it.
The latest survey results also reveal that the biggest overall spend this holiday season is expected to come from shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44, whose average intended spend came to $1,158.63.
Consumers are expected to spend money in three main categories during the holidays: gifts, non-gift holiday purchases such as food, decorations and greeting cards, and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of seasonal promotions.
Survey respondents said that they will spend the most on the first of these categories, with an intended average spend of $658.55, while non-gift holiday and promotional purchases are expected to total $227.26 and $162.02, respectively.
Holiday shopping schedules are fairly similar to previous years, with 39% of shoppers saying that they planned to start making holiday purchase before November, 43% claiming that they were waiting for the start of November and 18% saying that they would only start shopping in December.
“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,” commented NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a release, further pointing out that, “Retailers are fully prepared to meet the needs of holiday shoppers looking for that perfect mix of sales, quality and selection.”
Indeed, an NRF study from last month highlighted that retailers are expected to import a near-record amount of merchandise before new tariffs on a variety of Chinese consumer goods come into effect on December 15, suggesting that stores will be more than sufficiently stocked to deal with increased customer demand.
The NRF holiday consumer study surveyed 7,782 U.S. adults from October 1 through 10, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.
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