Younger people will be fueling an increase of about 4% in holiday season sales this year that have been predicted by the National Retail Federation (AA 10- 15-19, P. 4).
The overall forecast estimates that holiday retail sales in the months of November and December will be up 3.8% to 4.2% over 2018 sales, resulting in a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
“Younger consumers are helping drive the spending increase this year,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president of strategy for Prosper Insights, the global market data consulting firm that helps NRF conduct and analyze its annual consumer survey. “They’re not just spending on their immediate family members, they’re also treating their larger circle of co-workers and friends to gifts.”
More than half of shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 (52%) said that they plan to purchase gifts for co-workers, and 82% of those between 18 and 24 also plan to purchase gifts for their friends.
“Consumers are in good financial shape and willing to spend a little more on gifts for the special people in their lives this holiday season,” notes NRF President Matthew Shay. “Retailers are fully prepared to meet the needs of holiday shoppers looking for that perfect mix of sales, quality and selection.”
Shay also says retailers are expected to import near- record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs that are scheduled to take effect on a wide range of consumer goods from China on Dec. 15.
The NRF survey found that consumers in general say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, which is up 4% from the $1,007.24 they said they intended to spend last year,
In spite of the forecast of a sales “youthquake,” NRF says shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63 per person.
Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays – gifts for family, friends and co-workers, at an average $658.55.
They also will buy non-gift holiday items such as candy and food, decorations, greeting cards and flowers at an average of $227.26 per person; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.
More than half (56%) say they will shop online, NRF reports.
Among online shoppers, 92% plan to take advantage of free shipping and 48% will use buy online, pick-up in store or ship to store services, and 16% plan to use same-day delivery, which has doubled since 2015. The youngest online shoppers (ages 18 to 24) are the most likely to say they plan to use same-day delivery at 32%.
The majority of shoppers, 53%, will also shop in department stores and 51% will go to discount stores, while 44% will go to grocery stores, 34% to clothing and accessory stores, and 23% each to electronics stores and local small businesses.
Similar to previous years, 39% of holiday shoppers say they would start buying holiday items before November, while 43% are waiting until at least November and 18% are waiting until December.
Sales and discounts remain the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer during the holidays, cited by 70%. Quality merchandise was the next- largest factor (cited by 59%), followed by selection of merchandise (57%), free shipping and shipping promotions (46%) and convenient location (44%).
Gift cards remain the most popular items to receive, requested by 59% of respondents, followed by clothing and accessories (52%), books, movies, music and video games (35%), electronics (29%), home décor (24%), jewelry (23%), personal care or beauty items (21%), sporting goods (18%) and home improvement items (17%).