Consumers said they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1% from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“The holidays are just around the corner and consumers are ready to shop,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans. Retailers expect strong demand this year, and are prepared with a wide array of merchandise while offering strong deals and promotions during the busiest and most competitive shopping season of the year.”
The consumer survey comes on top of NRF’s annual holiday overall spending forecast. The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays: gifts, at $637.67; non-gift holiday items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards, at $215.04; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season, at $154.53.
Holiday shoppers are planning to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores: An equal number (55%) will shop online and in department stores while 51% will go to discount stores, 44% to grocery stores, 33% to clothing stores and 24% to electronics stores. The mix of channels was further evident with 50% of those shopping online saying they will pick up their purchases in-store. Of online shoppers who want the package to come to their home or office, 94% will take advantage of free shipping, 16% will choose expedited shipping and 11% will use same-day delivery.
Most holiday shoppers (60%) are waiting until at least November to begin browsing and buying items for the season. However, 21% planned to start in October and 18% said they began in September or earlier.
While sales and discounts remained the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer, cited by 71%, quality and selection of merchandise were the next-largest factor (cited by 60%), followed by free shipping (47%) and convenient location (45%).
The survey of 7,313 adult consumers was conducted October 1 to 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.