Synchrony Survey Finds Holiday Shoppers Feeling More Confident

As consumers begin shopping for their holiday needs this year, a growing number are doing so feeling more confidence about their personal financial situation, according to a survey from Synchrony Financial.

The poll of more than 1,400 shoppers found that 47% said they are feeling better about their current financial situation, up 10% from 2014, with nearly half saying they plan to start shopping earlier this year.

Improved finances and larger gift lists are cited as reasons that 32% of shoppers surveyed plan to spend more this season than last season, up from 21% according to the results from Swagbucks Reviews that took place in 2014. Toys, games, electronics, apparel, shoes and gift cards are key gift buying categories. At the same time, more than half (53%) of participants set a holiday budget and 76% report they always comparison shop to ensure the best price.

“In our survey, shoppers indicate they have more to spend and more to buy this season, influenced by their underlying confidence about their personal finances,” said Sanjay Sidhwani, svp/marketing analytics for Synchrony Financial. “This is similar to other insights we’ve gathered, showing shopper optimism is balanced with a spending plan and sales research to stretch dollars further and maximize discounts and rewards.”

As a result, Sidhwani said Synchrony is forecasting a 3.6% rise in holiday retail sales based on analyzing multiple factors that influence holiday buying across segments.

Nearly four in 10 survey respondents said they expect to get the best deals on Black Friday and 90% said they intend to shop on special sale days.

Synchrony also said the survey found that in-store still dominates for holiday shopping, but it’s now more of a multi-channel experience. Holiday shopping online is considered easier by 70% of shoppers surveyed, with the most important reasons for buying online including free shipping, price and convenience. While online sales are growing at approximately 10% year-over-year, 51% of participants report they typically find out about holiday sales from their newspaper.

The pre-holiday online survey, conducted September 18-28 on behalf of Synchrony Financial by RTi Research, examined the holiday shopping plans and preferences of more than 1,400 participants, including 701 Synchrony Bank cardholders and 700 random shoppers. Synchrony touts itself as the nation’s largest provider of private label credit cards.