Frugality will be the holiday buzzword this year.
That’s according to a new study completed this week on holiday shopping plans from the Boston Consulting Group that checked in with over 10,000 consumers.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans, or 70 percent, said they do not intend to spend more than they did last year, with the average spend at $993. Two in 10 respondents said they are going to be conservative because the economy is challenging, while 17 percent said they will be frugal because they’re trying to increase their savings.
Further, less than half, at 43 percent, said they plan to shop on Black Friday. The majority, 52 percent, said they “plan to stay home and wait until after in the holiday season to buy their gifts.” Millennials are more likely than older shoppers to search for a good deal, with 63 percent expected to shop for a deal on Black Friday, compared with 48 percent of Gen Xers and 26 percent of Baby Boomers.
As for what they will spend on, apparel and consumer electronics are the top two category choices, although BCG noted that consumers reported lukewarm interest in luxury goods.
Michael J. Silverstein, senior partner at the consulting firm, said, “Spending is going to be fixed this holiday season. People will substitute one category for another, and one shopping channel for another. There will be little splurging or lavishness. If someone buys the big TV or new smartphone, he won’t also buy the sweater. If she buys a gift online, the mall store will be the loser.”
Silverstein also noted that whenever consumers pull back on spending, they tend to default to brands they know. That could allow the tried-and-true brands to garner more sales at full price, he concluded.
In the BCG survey, consumers said the firms that they plan to shop at include Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Samsung, H&M and Under Armour.
Surveys on what consumers plan to do often result in multiple conclusions, without any consensus among the data points since much is dependent on who is surveyed and when, as well as how a question is phrased. The survey results from BCG suggest that there could be the beginning of a general consensus for holiday.
In the A.T. Kearney study released earlier this week, it too found consumers becoming more conservative over the past four or five years. Further, while Millennials are likely to shop earlier if promotions start earlier, 49 percent said they plan to shop between Nov. 30 and Dec. 18, with only 11 percent of respondents stating they plan to shop on Black Friday.