NRF survey: consumers to handle holiday shopping with healthy dose of optimism

 NRF survey: consumers to handle holiday shopping with healthy dose of optimismAccording to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Holiday Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, the holiday shopper (consumers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa) would spend an average of $805.65 and more over the holiday season, the highest amount in the survey’s 14-year history and in line with last year’s $802.45. Gifting for members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high.

“Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution as they look for ways to find the perfect, practical gift. We continue to see positive momentum in retail sales growth, giving us reason to believe consumers will show up this holiday season as they look to take advantage of all of retailers’ promotional offerings.”

NRF suggests that retailers would have offers for a wide variety of shoppers, from the price sensitive to the online millennial, attracting them with incentives, low prices, price-matching, top toys, free shipping and buy online pick up in store offers.

The survey suggests around one-third (33.4 percent) of holiday shoppers would shop at clothing or accessory stores. The survey found nearly half (46.1%) of holiday shopping will be conducted online, up from 44.4 percent last year and the highest recorded since NRF first asked in 2006. There would also be a high level of mobile engagement among holiday shoppers, with 21.4 percent of smartphone owners to use their device to purchase holiday merchandise this year, the highest seen since NRF first asked in 2011. Additionally, more will use their smartphone to research products (37.9 percent from 35.8 percent last year) and to look for a way to connect with a retail store (28.4 percent vs. 26.9 percent last year). Around 47.5 percent of tablet-owners will use their device to research products and 34.5 percent will use their tablet to make a holiday purchase, similar to last year (33%); nearly one-quarter (23.5%) will check for in-store availability from their tablet.

Also, apart from shopping for gifts for others, around 55.8 percent holiday shoppers will also indulge in self-purchases and/or others for non-gift items, and will spend an average of $131.59, up from $126.37 last year.

Of the important factors that shoppers consider, the survey noted are – discounts, quality of merchandise, selection of merchandise and a convenient location to shop. In online shopping, 46.7 percent shoppers cited free shipping/shipping promotions and easy-to-use websites or mobile sites, apart from helpful customer service and layaway services.

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