Consumers are in a spending mood for holiday gifts this year and gift cards, clothing, accessories and books will be at the top of their shopping lists.
That’s according to a just-released consumer survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, which found that consumers will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 last year.
“Consumers are in good financial shape and willing to spend a little more on gifts for the special people in their lives this holiday season,” Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation, said on Friday.
“Younger consumers are helping drive the spending increase this year,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Insights executive vice president of strategy. “They’re not just spending on their immediate family members, they’re also treating their larger circle of co-workers and friends to gifts.”
More than half — 52 percent — of shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 plan to purchase gifts for coworkers, and 82 percent of those between 18 and 24 plan to purchase gifts for their friends.
Among the other findings:
- Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63, on average.
- Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays — gifts for family, friends and coworkers, at an average $658.55; non-gift holiday items such as candy and food, decorations, greeting cards and flowers at $227.26, and other nongift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.
- Fifty-six percent of shoppers say they will shop online.
- Ninety-two percent plan to take advantage of free shipping and 48 percent will use buy online, pick-up in store or ship-to-store services
- Sixteen percent plan to use same-day delivery, which has doubled since 2015.
Shay noted that retailers are expected to import “near record” volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs scheduled to take effect Dec. 15 on a wide range of consumer goods from China.
Last month, the NRF forecasted that for the holiday selling period, defined as November and December, retail sales will be up between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
NRF and Prosper also said 53 percent of consumers will shop in department stores for gift; 51 percent will go to discount stores; 44 percent will go to grocery stores; 34 percent to clothing and accessory stores, and 23 percent each to electronics stores and local small businesses.
Similar to previous years, 39 percent of holiday shoppers said they would start buying holiday items before November, while 43 percent are waiting until at least November and 18 percent are waiting until December.
Seventy percent of those surveyed said sales and discounts remain the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer during the holidays.
Quality merchandise was the next-largest factor (cited by 59 percent), followed by selection (57 percent), free shipping and shipping promotions (46 percent) and convenient location (44 percent).
For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 52 percent, books/movies/music/video games (35 percent), electronics (29 percent), home decor (24 percent), jewelry (23 percent), personal care or beauty items (21 percent), sporting goods (18 percent) and home improvement items (17 percent).