Early holiday projections from the latest study by The NPD Group suggests that the 2016 holiday season may give retail spending the boost it so desperately needs.
According to the New York-based market research firm, two in 10 consumers have already started their holiday shopping, and earlier shopping correlates to bigger spending.
Case in point: 27 percent of heavy spenders (those planning to spend $750 or more) have already started shopping. This drops to 24 percent among midlevel spenders ($300-$749) and 17 percent among low spenders ($300 or less).
The NPD Group’s 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey also found that consumers plan to spend an average of $636 on holiday-related expenses, a 3 percent gain over what it anticipated last year.
“All signs point to a holiday retail season that will outperform last year’s,” said Marshal Cohen, The NPD Group’s chief industry analyst. “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.”
Nevertheless, there are some consumers who plan to tighten their budgets this time around — 17 percent said they’ll spend less this holiday season than they did in the prior year, while about 14 percent expect to spend more.
Online shopping is once again expected to accelerate this year with consumers planning to do about 38 percent of their shopping online — up from 33 percent last year and 29 percent in 2014. Online only sites such as Amazon and eBay and mass merchandise/discount stores topped the list of desirable shopping destinations.
When it comes to what they’ll actually buy, the majority of consumers plan to purchase clothing and accessories as holiday gifts this year, beating out other holiday gifting favorite tech/electronics.
(**The NPD Group conducted an online survey in September 2016 among a U.S. representative sample of NPD online consumer panel members. According to the firm, the survey was completed by 3,499 individuals aged 18 and older.)