Consumers plan to spend less overall on gifts, holiday items, and non-gift purchases for themselves this holiday season, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
The survey also found that one in five, or 19 percent of holiday shoppers who typically travel for the holidays, prefer to remain at home this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than half, or 53 percent of those who changed their holiday travel plans, said they might spend more on holiday items this year as they don’t spend on travel.
The survey, which asked 7,660 consumers about winter holiday shopping plans, was done from October 1 to 9. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.
Consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items like decorations and food, and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families, the survey found. This represents a $50 decrease in overall spending in these categories compared to last year. Nearly all of the decrease, or $45, is due to consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy “other, non-gift purchases” for themselves and their families.
Despite the decrease, consumer spending on gifts is down by only about $8 compared to last year, while per person spending on other holiday items such as decorations increased slightly. Nevertheless, expected spending remains much higher than the five-year average for both these categories, according to the NRF.
42 percent of the consumers surveyed said they plan to start their holiday shopping by the end of October, while another 41 percent plan to start in November.
Reflecting the surge in online sales during the pandemic, 60 percent of consumers plan to buy holiday items online this year.
Nearly all online shoppers, or 91 percent, said they plan to take advantage of free shipping. Another 44 percent plan to use buy online, pick up in store, while 16 percent intend to use same-day delivery.
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