NRF survey: Average holiday spending expected down from last year
Washington, D.C. — The National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch and released Wednesday, found that holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98.
NRF is still forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8% during the months of November and December to $465.6 billion.
Additionally, 59.9% say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season. The average person will spend approximately $130.43 during the holiday season to take advantage of sales and discounts on apparel, electronics, home goods and other items for themselves or a family member, up from $112.20 last year.
“When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers, who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty, or stellar customer service.”
According to the survey, the largest portion of a consumer’s holiday budget will go toward gifts for family members, with the average person expected to shell out $403.26 on kids, parents and other family members. Shoppers will spend an average of $68.23 on friends, $21.06 on co-workers, and $23.39 on other gifts. Consumers will also spend on decorations ($46.73), greeting cards ($26.52), candy and food ($96.75), and flowers ($18.23.)
The survey found that department stores, with unique private-label offerings, will see an increase in traffic over last year (56.9% vs. 54.5% last year), as will clothing or accessory stores (35.2% vs. 33.6% in 2010), drug stores (21.1% vs. 18.9% last year), and grocery stores and supermarkets (48.8% vs. 46.7% last year), and most will head to discount stores (66.1% vs. 65.1%.) Crafts and fabric stores will benefit from those looking to make personal and thoughtful gifts (17.5% vs. 16.1% in 2010).
For the fifth year in a row – and at the highest level in the survey’s history – 57.7% of shoppers say they’d like to receive a gift card this holiday season. Other items on consumers’ wish lists include clothing or clothing accessories (50.0%), consumer electronics or computer-related accessories (35.4%) jewelry (22.8%) and personal care items (19.3%).
When asked which one factor will be most important when shopping this holiday season, sales or price discounts largely win out (41.6%), but customer service (6.0% vs. 5.3% last year) and quality of merchandise (14.6% vs. 12.7% in 2010) are continuing to become more vital components in consumers’ decision making processes, highlighting the growing importance of value when it comes to gift and everyday shopping.
More people will seek out retailers’ holiday deals on the Internet this year; nearly half (46.7%) will buy online, up from 43.9% last year. Additionally, the average holiday shopper plans to do 36% of their shopping online – whether they’re comparing prices, researching products, or actually making a purchase. Online shoppers plan to spend more as well – the average person who will shop online this holiday season will spend about 22% more than those consumers who only plan to shop in stores. Adults aged 25-34, many of whom have small children and crave convenience, will complete 43.7% of their holiday shopping online, the most of any age group.
Each year, nearly 40% of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween, and this year is no different with 38.9% of celebrants having already begun or planning to begin holiday shopping before Oct. 31. Another 40% will begin shopping in November, 17% will hit the stores the first two weeks in December and 4.1% will procrastinate until the final two weeks of December.
According to the survey, 62.2% of Americans say the U.S. economy will affect their holiday spending plans. To compensate, consumers are expected to comparison shop to save a few dollars. The survey found 5.7% said they would comparative shop using their mobile device more often, up from 3.7% in 2010, and nearly one-third (32.1%) will comparative shop online more often, up from 30.9% last year.
With more mobile applications for smartphones and tablets available now, consumers have jumped at the efficiency and convenience of these new shopping channels. For the first time this year, NRF and BIGresearch polled consumers about their intentions to use smartphones and tablets to research and purchase holiday items. According to the survey, half (52.6%) of those who own a smartphone said they will use their device to research products, redeem coupons, use apps to assist in their purchase, and purchase holiday gifts and items. Specifically, nearly one-third (31%) say they will research products and/or compare prices, 14.1% will purchase products, 17.3% will redeem coupons and 15.6% will use apps to research or purchase items. One-quarter (25.1%) of smartphone owners will use their phone to look up a retailer’s information such as store hours and location.
Seven in 10 (70.5%) tablet owners will research and shop using their device. According to the survey, half (50.8%) of those with tablets will research products and/or compare prices, and more than one-third (34.8%) will actually make a purchase with their device. Tablet owners will also redeem coupons (21.5%), look up retailer information (33.8%) and use apps to research items or purchase products (21%).
Sears expands online toy shopping
Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings Corp. said Wednesday that it has expanded its online Sears Toy Shop, as a means to capture its share of the growing internet-based toy shopping trend.
As part of its online offerings, Sears designed Sears Toy Shop as a hub of tips and advice on toy shopping.
"We know that our customers are shopping online for their gifts this holiday season, and Sears is committed to providing parents with the tools, guidance and toy selection they want," said Hugo Malan, senior VP and president, Fitness, Sporting Goods and Toys. "We are always looking for new and exciting ways to reach out to kids and parents. The Sears Toy Shop is just one of many offerings to help make the holiday shopping season more fun and enjoyable."
The Sears Toy Shop features a Toy Chest Essentials tool that hosts toy expert advice combined with toys for each age group. Contributing toy experts include Stevanne Auerbach, also known as Dr. Toy, and Chris Bensch, curator from the Strong National Museum of Play.
The website also features a Sears Top Toy Picks section that lists the latest products, as well as Playdate Place, a community where parents can share tips and advice on the best toys to help them create the ultimate play date.
“In today’s tougher economic times, parents are really looking to find toys for their kids that have lasting play value,” said Julia Fitzgerald, chief digital engagement officer, Toys and Sporting Goods for Sears Holdings. “With so many toy options these days, it’s important that parents find the best toys to keep their kids engaged far beyond the holidays, and the Sears Toy Shop website offers a variety of tools to help.”
Carlo Pazolini to debut in Manhattan
New York City — Robert K. Futterman & Associates said Wednesday that it has secured a lease for luxury footwear brand Carlo Pazolini at 543 Broadway, in the SoHo district of Manhattan.
The Italian shoe designer will open the 7,950-sq.-ft. this holiday season. It will be Carlo Pazolini’s first U.S. store.
Designed by architect Giorgio Borruso, the Italian shoe shop will occupy 4,250 sq. ft. of ground-floor space and 3,700 sq. ft. in the basement.
Since launching in Italy in 1990, the brand now operates more than 150 locations in Russia, with others in Prague, Italy and most recently, London. Several shops are anticipated to open in the U.S. following the SoHo opening.