Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays
US consumers say they will spend an average of $1,007.24 during the holiday season this year, up 4.1% from the $967.13 they said they would spend last year, according to the annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Tariffs on a wide range of consumer goods from China took effect last month, but Shay noted that retailers imported record volumes of merchandise ahead of the tariffs this summer and said any effect on pricing during the holiday season is expected to be minimal.
The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017 for a total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.
Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays – gifts, at $637.67; non-gift holiday items such as food, decorations, flowers, and greeting cards, at $215.04; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season, at $154.53.
Holiday shoppers are planning to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores: 55% will shop online and in department stores, while 51% will go to discount stores, 44% to grocery stores, 33% to clothing stores and 24% to electronics stores.
Most holiday shoppers (60%) are waiting until at least November to begin browsing and buying items for the season.
While sales and discounts remained the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer, cited by 71%, quality and selection of merchandise were the next-largest factor (cited by 60%), followed by free shipping (47%) and convenient location (45%).
For the 12th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 60% of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 53%, books/movies/music (37%), electronics (29%), home décor (23%), jewelry (22%), personal care or beauty items (19%), sporting goods (18%) and home improvement items (17%).
The survey of 7,313 adult consumers was conducted October 1-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.