WASHINGTON — With retailers eyeing an expanded holiday shopping season this year, a recent survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows that consumers’ overall spend for the holidays may be relatively flat to last year, but a significant number plan to shift more dollars to purchases rather than travel this season.
And, with holiday inventory and promotions starting even earlier than usual, a majority of consumers say they could be convinced to start shopping earlier than they typically do through incentives like holiday deals or to avoid crowds or the stress of last-minute shopping.
“Consumers are taking advantage of a variety of offerings from retailers this holiday season including earlier sales promotions and shipping options,” said Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist.
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, according to the annual survey released by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
While overall spending in these categories is down by about $50 from last year, about $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.
The holiday season is top of mind, with 42% saying they plan to start their holiday shopping by the end of October and another 41% in November.
One in five (19%) holiday shoppers say that they typically travel for the holidays but will stay home instead this year. More than half (53%) of those who changed their holiday travel plans said they are likely to spend more on holiday items this year, specifically because they will not be traveling.
As online sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that the majority (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 buy online, pick up in store and 16% plan to use same-day delivery.
Other top holiday shopping destinations for consumers include department stores (45%), discount stores (43%), and grocery stores or supermarkets (42%).
The survey asked 7,660 consumers about winter holiday shopping plans. It was conducted Oct. 1-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.