NRF Survey: Consumers Will Increase Holiday Spend 4.1% In 2018

Average consumer spending during the holiday season will top $1,000 — $1,007.24 to be exact. That’s 4.1% more than the $967.13 spent during the 2017 holiday season, according to a Prosper Insights & Analytics survey conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The rise is in line with the NRF prediction of a 4.3% to 4.8% jump in retail holiday sales in 2018, creating a total ranging from $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion. This forecast is based on multiple economic factors, while the consumer survey is used to predict per-consumer spending.

These positive predictions for the 2018 season also align with the 2018 Holiday Shopping Outlook study by Blis, which revealed that 18.7% of consumers plan to spend more this season than in 2017, with most shoppers planning to increase their budgets by $100 to $500.


“Confidence is near an all-time high, unemployment is the lowest we’ve seen in decades and take-home wages are up,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “All of that is reflected in consumers’ buying plans.”

While tariffs on a wide range of goods from China took effect in September, Shay noted that retailers had imported record volumes of merchandise ahead of the imposition of tariffs, so any impact on pricing during the holiday season should be minimal.

Gifts Account For 63% Of Holiday Spending Budgets

The NRF survey revealed that gifts will make up the largest segment of consumers’ spending budget, at $637.67, followed by $215.04 spent on non-gift holiday items such as food, decorations and greeting cards. The remaining $154.53 will go to non-gift purchases that take advantage of seasonal promotions.

In fact, sales and discounts remained the top factor influencing the choice of a particular retailer, cited by 71% of consumers, followed by: quality and selection of merchandise (60%); free shipping (47%); and convenient location (45%).

Gift cards are the most popular items on wish lists for the 12th year in a row, requested by 60% of surveyed shoppers. Other popular categories include: clothing and accessories (53%); books/movies/music (37%); electronics (29%); home décor (23%); jewelry (22%); personal care/beauty (19%); sporting goods (18%); and home improvement items (17%).

Other findings from the study include:

• An equal number (55%) of consumers will shop online and in department stores;

51% will shop at discount stores; 44% in grocery stores; 33% in clothing stores; and 24% in electronics stores;

• Half of online shoppers will pick up their purchases in-store;

94% of online shoppers who want their packages delivered will take advantage of free shipping, and 11% will use same-day delivery.

• The majority (60%) of holiday shoppers are waiting until November to begin browsing and buying, but 21% planned to start in October and 18% began in September or earlier.

The survey of 7,313 adult consumers was conducted Oct. 1-11, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

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