CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
November 18, 2018
Forward Thinking

Consumers to spend 4 percent more this holiday season, NRF survey shows

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Omnichannel buying trends continue, as fifty percent of consumers surveyed say they will buy online and pick up in store.

Retailers can plan for a busy holiday shopping season this year, as consumers are set to spend an average 4.1 percent more than they did during last year's holiday rush, according to a report released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

More than 7,000 consumers surveyed said they will spend an average $1,007.24, up from the $967.13 they spent last year on gifts, food and decorations, and non-gift/holiday deal purchases. The survey comes on the heels of NRF's annual holiday spending forecast, which predicts similar gains: holiday retail sales for November and December are expected to reach between $718 billion and $721 billion, an increase of between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent compared with last year, according to the forecast.

A strong economy and low unemployment are driving the trend.

"Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we've seen in decades and take-home wages are up. All of that is reflected in consumers' buying plans," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement announcing the consumer survey's findings.

Shay added that tariffs on consumer goods from China will have a minimal effect on pricing this holiday season, as retailers imported record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs this summer.

The consumer survey also showed that shoppers plan to continue using different channels and delivery options as they shop this year, fueling the omnichannel buying trends taking hold across the industry. An equal number of shoppers (55 percent) say they will shop both online and in department stores, with 50 percent of those shopping online saying they will pick up their purchases in-store. Of the online shoppers who will choose home-delivery, 94 percent said they will take advantage of free shipping, 16 percent said they will choose expedited shipping, and 11 percent said they will use same-day delivery, the survey showed.

In addition, shoppers say they will be on the lookout for more than just a good deal this year. Although sales and discounts remain the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer, cited by 71 percent of consumers, quality and selection of merchandise were the next-largest factor (cited by 60 percent), followed by free shipping (47 percent) and convenient location (45 percent), the survey showed.

"Consumers will be scouring through retailers' ads to make sure they are getting the best deal possible," Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. "Although sales will remain an important factor, shoppers want good quality and want to be able to find what they're looking for."

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