Retailers with strong omnichannel initiatives stand to capture market share as consumers take advantage of in-store pickup and inventory lookup.
Consumers celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and/or Kwanzaa will spend an average of $805.65 on food items, decorations, gifts and more over the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation's "Holiday Consumer Spending Survey" conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. This is the highest amount in the survey's 14-year history and in line with last year's $802.45. Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high.
"We continue to see positive momentum in retail sales growth, giving us reason to believe consumers will show up this holiday season as they look to take advantage of all of retailers' promotional offerings," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "In an effort to attract all shoppers—from the extremely price sensitive to the online millennial—retailers will be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching, top toys and everyone's favorite: free shipping and buy online, pick up in-store offers."
Retailers' buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) initiatives will get a workout this season. Nearly half (46.5 percent) of shoppers plan to take advantage of these programs, and a whopping 93.1 percent will use a free shipping offer.
Same-day shipping will appeal to the coveted youth market as 16.7 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds and 15.9 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds will use a same-day delivery option when buying gifts, décor and other holiday items, compared to just 7.8 percent of the rest of the population.
"The surprise factor isn't the numbers surrounding millennials and their planned use of retailers' innovative digital offerings, it's the power that this cohort of adults has when it comes to influencing retailers to speak their language," said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper's principal analyst. "Young adults and millennials are incredibly savvy when it comes to finding the right gift at the right price at the right place."
For the ninth year in a row, gift cards top shoppers' wish lists. Close behind are clothing and clothing accessories (52.2 percent). Books, CDs, DVDs and video games come in third at 40.5 percent, the lowest numbers seen since NRF began asking.
Mobile engagement will continue to climb this season. While roughly half of all buying and browsing will be done online, 21.4 of smartphone owners plan to make purchases on the device. Even more will research products and look up store information via smartphone, and 20.3 percent will check for product availability in stores with the device.
Shoppers are still looking for discounts. Nearly three-quarters said sales and price discounts are a major factor, compared to 60.7 percent who said quality of merchandise was the most important factor.
NRF holiday shopping predictions are often among the most optimistic. And while total spending may indeed be modest, where and how shoppers spend will be closely watched. Retailers have spent much of 2015 enabling omnichannel operations with endless aisle inventory, multiple shipping options and mobile-friendly websites.
-See the NRF Holiday Consumer Spending Survey
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