With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, consumers say they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation. That’s up 3.4 percent from the $935.58 consumers said they would spend when surveyed at the same time last year.
The consumer survey comes on top of NRF’s annual holiday spending forecast, which takes into account a variety of economic factors and projects that holiday retail sales in November and December this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total between $678.8 billion and $682 billion.
In addition, imports set an all-time record high late this summer as retailers brought in an unprecedented amount of merchandise in anticipation of a strong holiday season, and are continuing at unusually high numbers this fall, according to NRF’s monthly Global Port Tracker report.
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 comes 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.
For the first time in survey history, online is the most popular shopping destination this year, cited by 59 percent of consumers. The survey also found that 57 percent will shop at a department store, 54 percent at a discount store, 46 percent at a grocery store/supermarket and 35 percent at clothing or accessories store. The survey found 27 percent plan to visit an electronics store, 25 percent a small or local business, and 18 percent will go to a crafts or fabrics store.
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.
Most consumers (59 percent) are waiting until at least November to begin holiday shopping. However, 22 percent started or were planning to start in October and 19 percent in September or earlier. Of the early shoppers, 65 percent say they are trying to spread out their budgets while 49 percent do not want the stress of last-minute shopping and 48 percent want to avoid the crowds.
The survey of 7,349 consumers was conducted October 3-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.