|Study: Consumers expected to trim holiday budgets amid uncertainty|
|Thursday, 17 October 2013 11:18 AM EDT|
Faced with continued economic uncertainty, consumers will take a conservative approach to spending this holiday season, according to a study by the National Retail Federation (NRF).
The NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey indicated the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, 2% less than the $752.24 they spent last year. Despite that decrease, NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion.
“Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday-related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months.”
When asked if they plan to take advantage of sales or price discounts during the holiday season to make additional non-gift purchases, 57% said yes, down from 59% last year. Self-gifters will spend an average of $129.62 this year, down from a survey high of $140.43 last year and $137.17 in 2011.
The biggest portion of shoppers’ budget is expected to go toward gifts for family members, with the average person planning to spend $415.50 on mom, dad and other loved ones, down slightly from the $423.36 they spent last year. Additionally, people will spend $72.14 on friends, $23.59 on co-workers and $25.63 on others, including pets. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.35), greeting cards ($28.03) and flowers ($21.12). When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.60. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.8 billion.
Whether to comparison-shop or look for deals on their mobile device while out and about, the Internet will play a crucial role for retailers and shoppers this year. The average person will complete about 39.5% of their shopping on retail and other company websites, up from 38.8% last year and the highest amount in the survey’s history. Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, is forecasting online holiday sales will grow between 13% and 15% to as much as $82 billion.
Price and promotions are top-of-mind when consumers are deciding where to spend their hard-earned dollars. According to the survey, 35.6% said the most important factor in deciding where to shop are offers for sales and discounts, along with 16.4% who say the most important factor is selection of merchandise and 13.6% who say it’s quality of merchandise.