Consumers will spend an average $967.13 this year during the holiday season, according to the annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation (NRF). This figure is up 3.4 percent from the $935.58 consumers said they would spend when surveyed at the same time last year.
“With employment and incomes increasing, consumers are more confident this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay “Retailers have been stocking up in expectation of this, and all signs are that this will be a busy holiday season. Retailers are preparing for a rush of consumers leading into Thanksgiving and all through December, and are offering a wide array of merchandise and promotions so shoppers can find great gifts and great deals at the same time.”
The survey found that only 27 percent of consumers say their spending will be impacted by concerns about the nation’s economy, down from 32 percent during 2016’s election-year jitters and the lowest level since NRF began asking the question during the Great Recession in 2009.
Holiday spending will come in three main categories. Gifts, at $608.06; items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards, at $218.08; and other non-gift items consumers buy for themselves and their families, at $140.99.
According to the survey, for the first time in its history, online is the most popular shopping destination this year, cited by 59 percent of consumers. Most online shoppers will take advantage of free shipping (94 percent) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (49 percent). In addition, 19 percent will take advantage of expedited shipping and 12 percent will use same-day delivery.
“While many consumers are holding off until November or later to start their holiday shopping, retailers should be prepared for high traffic online and in stores come Thanksgiving weekend as customers start tackling their lists,” Prosper Insights principal analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Although sales will remain an important factor for most consumers, many will lean on convenient locations and easy-to-use websites or mobile apps along with free shipping to complete their purchases.”
The survey of 7,349 consumers was conducted Oct. 3 to 10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.