Survey News: Holiday Outlook Flat

Some marketers are pinning their hopes on a renewed sense of consumer optimism coming out of the presidential election. But a survey released on Oct. 5 by Port Washington, NY-based research firm NPD Group shows that many have different plans. In fact, 87% of consumers polled say they plan to spend either the same amount or less on holiday gifts this season than they did last year.

Broken down, 69% say they plan to spend the same amount as last year on holiday gifts, 18% plan to spend less, and just 12% plan to spend more, according to the survey. On average, consumers plan to spend $655 overall for holiday gifts.

“It appears that consumers are slowly but surely losing their passion for holiday shopping,” said NPD chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen in a statement. “But that doesn’t mean merchants should lose heart–we are seeing some important growth opportunities. It’s up to the retailers to be vigilant and proactive. Those merchants who will ignite the consumers’ interest will thrive and those who repeat what they’ve done in the past will simply survive.”

Among the other NPD findings,

*-consumers ages 55-64 plan to spend the most this holiday season ($693)

*-consumers ages 18-24 plan to spend the least ($537), but that’s up dramatically from last year’s average among these young adults of $366

*-consumers ages 25-34 plan to cut their spending by 21%

*-men plan to spend $666 on average compared to $624 among women; men plan to spend twice as much as women on consumer electronics

*-33% of women said they plan to shop via catalogs; 26% of men said they’ll shop through catalogs

*-41%–predominately those with household income of $75,000-plus–say they plan to shop online

*-72% of consumers plan to shop at discount retailers, such as Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart; 33% plan to shop in warehouse clubs, such as Costco and Sam’s Club; 26% will shop in department stores

*-as of mid-September, 27% of consumers surveyed had already begun their holiday shopping compared to 31% last year.

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