Holiday Spending Will Increase 4.1 Percent This Year, Says NRF Survey

According to a new survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers will spend 4.1 percent more this holiday season than they did during the 2017 holidays.

The NRF’s annual survey, executed in collaboration with Prosper Insights & Analytics, revealed that consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year.

The survey polled 7,313 adult consumers and was conducted October 1–11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

The NRF forecast for the holidays—an offshoot of the survey—estimates that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent over 2017, respectively, totaling between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.

Consumers plan to spend in three main categories: gifts, at $637.67; non-gift holiday items (think food, decorations, 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.

Here’s how they plan to shop: 55 percent of respondents said they will shop online and in department stores; 51 percent will shop discount stores; 44 percent will shop grocery stores; 33 percent will buy at clothing stores; and 24 percent will spend at electronics stores.

And here’s how they’ll get their goods: 50 percent of those shopping online said they will pick up their purchases in-store, and 94 percent said they will take advantage of free shipping (16 percent will opt for expedited shipping, and 11 percent will use same-day shipping).

The majority of shoppers—60 percent—are waiting until at least November to do their holiday shopping. But 21 percent planned to start in October, and 18 percent said they’ve already started holiday shopping. “Of the early shoppers, 61 percent said they were trying to spread out their budgets, while 47 percent wanted to avoid the crowds and stress of last-minute shopping,” according the the NRF.

Saving dough—in the form of sales and discounts— was the largest motivating factor in choosing a retailer, said 71 percent of those polled. But “quality and selection of merchandise” were the next-biggest factors, followed by free shipping, and “convenient location.”

Gift cards are the most requested gift, for the 12th year in a row; 60 percent of respondents said they wanted them. Up next, in order, were clothing and accessories, books/movies/music, electronics, home decor, jewelry (22 percent of those polled said they wanted it), personal care or beauty items, sporting goods, and home improvement items.

JCK Magazine Editor