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More good news for retailers


Yet another holiday forecast brings more good cheer to retailers.

Consumers plan to spend an average of $636 on holiday-related expenses, up 3% from what they anticipated last year, according to The NPD Group’s 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey. They are also less concerned this year about the economy spoiling their holiday fun. When asked how the state of the economy will influence holiday purchases in 2016, the 12% who said it will have a “significant impact” is down from recent years (14% in 2015, 19% in 2014).

“All signs point to a holiday retail season that will outperform last year’s,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “The unvarying holiday spending intentions expressed by consumers are a sign that even this year’s intense election cycle has done little to dampen consumer confidence going into the holiday season, which we forecast to grow moderately.”

Consumers also plan on shopping more through online channels this year. On average, shoppers plan on doing 38% of their holiday shopping online (up from 33% last year). But in looking more specifically at where consumers plan to shop during the 2016 holiday season, growth is apparent across the marketplace, from online- only retailers to toy stores to specialty retailers in the beauty category and most other purchase channels in between, according to NPD.

“Consumer response is suggesting growth across retail channels, despite the growth and dominance of online shopping, which points to a sense of optimism,” said Cohen. “The lack of stand-out, must-have products this holiday season is benefiting the categories that are delivering on basic consumer wants, but marketers need to find new ways to engage and excite holiday shoppers to drive significant growth.”

Six in 10 consumers are looking forward to the holiday season, and nearly half say the simple act of going out shopping during the holidays puts them in the holiday spirit.

“Consumers are ready to spend this holiday season,” Cohen said. However, more than ever before, how much they spend will be determined by their own perception of the products and promotions they are presented with, rather than the simple fact that the products and promotions are there.”

In other survey findings:

• Early shoppers are more likely to say they comparison shop before they buy gifts (45% versus 30% of late shoppers) and that they plan on buying all their holiday gifts on sale 38% versus 21% of late shoppers).

• Late shoppers may not have time to pick up a little something for themselves – they’re less likely than their early shopper counterparts to say that when they shop for others, they also shop for themselves (15% versus 26% of early shoppers).
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