Consumers plan to spend $997.73 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year, on par with consumer spending last year, per the annual survey* released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
“Every year retailers plan their seasonal inventory, staffing and product promotions well in advance for the busy holiday season,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers are ready to celebrate, and gift-giving is high on the list. The retail industry is working diligently with ports, labor, shippers, and transportation providers as well as government officials to overcome supply chain challenges and make sure consumers have access to the gifts they want to give and, just as importantly, receive.”
This year, 90 percent of U.S. adults plan to celebrate the holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, up from 87 percent last year.
Similar to last year, consumers are prioritizing gifts for family and friends and purchases related to holiday celebrations such as food or decor. Overall plans for holiday spending remain slightly below the pre-pandemic high of $1,047.83 in 2019, as fewer consumers plan to spend on non-gift purchases for themselves and their families.
While nearly half, 47 percent, of holiday shoppers, plan to take advantage of sales or discounts during the holiday season to make non-gift purchases, they plan to spend an average of $118.41 on these items. In contrast, in 2019, 60 percent planned to make these types of purchases and expected to spend $162.02. As many continue to work from home, shoppers are also less inclined to purchase gifts for co-workers. However, consumers are motivated to shop earlier than pre-covid times. Half, 49 percent, of holiday shoppers will start browsing and buying before November, up from 42 percent in 2020 and the highest in the survey’s history. Among those shopping in October or earlier, 47 percent said they want to avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and another 36 percent plan not to miss key holiday items.
“Over the last few years, consumers have demonstrated the desire to begin their holiday shopping earlier and earlier,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “This year, in particular, as retailers promote holiday inventory, they are taking advantage of additional offerings such as free shipping, buy online, pick up in-store, and expedited shipping to ensure they receive their gifts on time.”
The supply chain challenges that have been exacerbated since the beginning of the pandemic are top-of-mind for consumers. Nearly half, 47 percent, of holiday shoppers are concerned they will have difficult time finding items this year. The top items they are worried about include electronics, 44 percent; clothes, 40 percent; and toys, 28 percent.
Still, consumers continue to state a strong preference for online shopping. Over half, 57 percent, plan to purchase holiday items online this year, down from 60 percent who identified online as a holiday destination in 2020 and in line with pre-pandemic norms.
Other top holiday shopping destinations include department stores, 47 percent; discount stores, 44 percent; grocery stores, 43 percent; and clothing/accessories, 30 percent. One-quarter, 24 percent, of consumers plan to shop local or at small businesses.
*The survey asked 7,921 consumers about winter holiday shopping plans. It was conducted October 1-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.
Photo courtesy Retail Wire