NPD Group releases holiday spending survey results

The NPD Group has released the results of its holiday spending survey, the 12th annual survey of consumers’ holiday spending intentions. According to the report, the majority of consumers intend to spend the same as or more than last year, with fewer saying they plan to spend less.

This year’s results found that 12% of U.S. consumers who were surveyed plan to spend more, while 67% said they plan to spend about the same and 21% said they plan to spend less.

“Consumers are feeling better about the economy compared to last year and they plan to take advantage of sales during key periods,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “But this year’s holiday will be a tricky one for retailers. With fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Government distractions, and lack of newness in the marketplace, retailers will have to rely more on promotions to excite the consumer.”

Comparison shopping and comparing prices online remain consumers’ top pre-purchase actions. One-third of consumers plan to buy all of their holiday gifts on sale.

Consumers’ purchasing plans are similar to last year, with the same top 10 items on their holiday shopping list.

“With no new trendy items besides some updated versions of the same hot products from past years, consumers will not shop with fear due to lack of inventory. The must-have items will also be available at a wider variety of retailers, minimizing the panic shopping of years past,” said Cohen.

Overall, the holiday shopping season will get off to an earlier start compared to last year. According to the NPD Annual Holiday Spending Survey, this year more consumers have already started, or will start shopping before Thanksgiving.

“Consumers who plan to shop early expect the retailers to respond with extended store hours, and better deals offered earlier,” said Cohen.

The survey found that 17% of U.S. shoppers have already started their holiday shopping and 22% plan to start before Thanksgiving.

The online channel grew 5% compared to last year. High-income consumers, earning $75,000 or more, are likelier to shop this year on e-commerce sites. By comparison, other channels remained stable.

More than half (52%) of consumers surveyed said they plan on hitting discount stores, while 43% plan on shopping online. Twenty-nine percent of consumers plan to shop at national chains, 22% at department stores, 19% at toy stores, 18% at warehouse clubs, 17% at outlet stores, 17% at electronics stores, 15% at clothing specialty stores and 15% at off-price retailers.

“Researching online for the best deals will play a bigger role this year with social media continuing to influence consumers’ holiday purchases,” said Cohen. “The expansion of Black Friday weekend deals will also be a major player in the discount offerings. Look for promotions to start well ahead of Black Friday to create a much greater consumer opportunity for stores and online.”