Americans will get a head start on their holiday shopping this year, finds the NRF in October 2012 survey results. Slightly more than 4 in 10 respondents said they would start shopping before Halloween, including 19.3% who indicated they would have already started shopping by now. Another 39% said they would begin in November, leaving just 1 in 5 shopping during December.
Those consumers already beginning to shop may be ignoring the potential to find the best deals: recent PriceGrabber survey results indicate that one-third of consumers believe the best deals are to be found on Black Friday (which falls on November 23rd this year). Still, the NRF respondents appear to be highly influenced by sales and discounts: 36.6% cited this as their top factor in deciding where to shop.
Per-Person Spend Relatively Stagnant
This year, the NRF study results indicate that the average consumer will spend $749.51 on holiday items, up only marginally from $740.57 last year. Even so, the NRF believes holiday sales will increase by 4.1% over last year.
The conservative per-person spending estimate mirrors other recent survey results. Earlier this month, the NPD Group released findings showing that holiday consumer spending intentions are only slightly better than last year. MarketLive found similar results, as did Nielsen. Still, Nielsen forecasts 2.3% dollar growth on average for sales in 89 categories across 5 critical departments (food, beverages, alcohol, health/beauty, and homecare).
The economy is obviously a big factor in consumer spending decisions. A little more than half of the NRF respondents said that the state of the economy will affect their spending plans. That’s down from 62.3% last year, but may simply reflect better adaptation to conditions over the past few years.
1 in 2 Will Shop Online
Further details from the NRF survey indicate that 51.8% of consumers will shop online for holiday items, up from 46.7% last year. The average consumer said they would complete almost 40% of their shopping online.
Some of that behavior will be driven by the economy, too: almost one-third of consumers said the economy will drive them to comparative shop online more often this year.
While the NPD Group survey (see link above) found no growth in the percentage of consumers who will be purchasing holiday gifts online this year, Nielsen’s recent holiday survey supports the NRF finding that consumers will be spending more with online retailers.
Families to Benefit Most From Giving
Families stand to reap the most rewards from consumers’ generosity this year. Americans said they would spend an average of $421.82 on family members, far more than they’re willing to spend on their friends ($75.13). Co-workers ($23.48) and others, such as pets and community members ($28.13) will also be on the shopping lists.
Those lists will include items such as food and candy (an average of $100.76 per person), greeting cards ($28.66), and flowers ($19.55).
Tablet Owners Will Put Their Devices To Use
The survey also finds that tablet owners will be shopping via their devices, with 3 in 10 saying they plan to purchase products on their devices. Tablets will also be used to research products and compare prices (44.2%), look up retailer information (27.6%), and redeem coupons (19.8%), among other activities. All told, slightly less than two-thirds of the tablet owners surveyed said they would use their device to research or make a purchase.
Smartphone owners are less willing to do so – as a comparatively smaller 52.9% will use their devices to research or make a purchase. Although about one-third will research on their device, just 15% plan to purchase products, making them half as likely as tablet owners to do so.
About the Data: The NRF 2012 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey polled 8,899 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGinsight October 2-8, 2012. Nielsen’s survey of more than 25,000 demographically representative households throughout the U.S. was fielded in mid-September, 2012. Weekly consumer surveys of 1,100 shoppers, beginning the week of September 10th, tracks planned spending for the holiday season. Nielsen sales forecasts are derived from an analysis of 89 categories across five departments: food, beverages, alcohol, HBA and homecare using Nielsen Scantrack ”“ syndicated data. Forecasting is for November and December, 2012.