What Consumers Will Spend this Holiday Season

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What Consumers Will Spend this Holiday Season

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 10/26/2020

Holiday spending is expected, but what at level during a global pandemic?

The National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics say in total consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional "non-gift" purchases for themselves and their families.

The NRF survey, which looked at 7,660 consumers, found that while overall spending in these categories is down by about $50 from last year, nearly all ($45) of the decrease comes from consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy other, non-gift purchases for themselves and their families. Even still, consumer spending on gifts is on par with last year, decreasing by only about $8, while per person spending on other holiday items like decorations is actually up slightly. Expected spending remains significantly higher than the 5-year average for both those categories. 

“Consumers are taking advantage of a variety of offerings from retailers this holiday season including earlier sales promotions and shipping options,” Prosper EVP of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are focusing on making the holidays special for others but are playing it by ear when it comes to those 'extra' items they might get for themselves.”

On the other hand, Deloitte’s 35th annual holiday retail survey found consumers are expected to spend on average $1,387 per household, down 7% from 2019. Deloitte’s survey, which looked at more than 4,000 U.S. consumers, found spending is expected to shift to non-gift purchases ($435, up 12% from last year), while socializing away from home and travel is expected to decline 34% year over year (to $260 per household). Spending on gifts and gift cards is forecast to be $487 per household, a decline of 5% since 2019.  “Consumers are taking advantage of a variety of offerings from retailers this holiday season including earlier sales promotions and shipping options,” Prosper EVP of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are focusing on making the holidays special for others but are playing it by ear when it comes to those 'extra' items they might get for themselves.”

Nearly 51% of holiday shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-store, and 64% of the holiday budget is expected to be spent online, according to Deloitte. As consumers seek out safe and convenient options, 35% of shoppers indicated preference for buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), and the use of curbside pickup (27%), which is expected to more than double from last year.

Similarly, the NRF survey found 60% of consumers say they plan to purchase holiday items online this year. Nearly all (91%) online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, while another 44% plan to use BOPIS and 16% plan to use same-day delivery.

And in yet another take on the situation, I hope you’re doing well. While the health care pandemic has caused upheaval for all, 58% of global consumers expect to spend the same or more on holiday shopping than they did last year, according to Oracle’s annual global holiday shopping survey released today.