Market Overview

NRF Consumer Survey Points to Busy Holiday Season, Backs Up Economic Forecast and Import Numbers


With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, consumers say
they will spend an average $967.13 this year, according to the annual
survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail
Federation and released today. That's up 3.4 percent from the $935.58
consumers said they would spend when surveyed at the same time last year.

"With employment and incomes increasing, consumers are more confident
this year and that is reflected in their buying plans for the holidays,"
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. "Retailers have been stocking
up in expectation of this, and all signs are that this will be a busy
holiday season. Retailers are preparing for a rush of consumers leading
into Thanksgiving and all through December, and are offering a wide
array of merchandise and promotions so shoppers can find great gifts and
great deals at the same time."

The consumer survey comes on top of NRF's annual holiday
spending forecast
, which takes into account a variety of economic
factors and projects that holiday retail sales in November and December
this year will be up between 3.6 percent and 4 percent for a total
between $678.8 billion and $682 billion.

In addition, imports
set an all-time record high
late this summer as retailers brought in
an unprecedented amount of merchandise in anticipation of a strong
holiday season, and are continuing at unusually high numbers this fall,
according to NRF's monthly Global Port Tracker report.

The survey found that only 27 percent of consumers say their spending
will be impacted by concerns about the nation's economy, down from 32
percent during 2016's election-year jitters and the lowest level since
NRF began asking the question during the Great Recession in 2009.

Holiday spending comes in three main categories – gifts, at $608.06;
items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards, at $218.08;
and other non-gift items consumers buy for themselves and their
families, at $140.99.

For the first time in survey history, online is the most popular
shopping destination this year, cited by 59 percent of consumers. The
survey also found that 57 percent will shop at a department store, 54
percent at a discount store, 46 percent at a grocery store/supermarket
and 35 percent at clothing or accessories store. The survey found 27
percent plan to visit an electronics store, 25 percent a small or local
business, and 18 percent will go to a crafts or fabrics store.

Most online shoppers will take advantage of free shipping (94 percent)
and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (49 percent). In
addition, 19 percent will take advantage of expedited shipping and 12
percent will use same-day delivery.

Most consumers (59 percent) are waiting until at least November to begin
holiday shopping. However, 22 percent started or were planning to start
in October and 19 percent in September or earlier. Of the early
shoppers, 65 percent say they are trying to spread out their budgets
while 49 percent do not want the stress of last-minute shopping and 48
percent want to avoid the crowds.

"While many consumers are holding off until November or later to start
their holiday shopping, retailers should be prepared for high traffic
online and in stores come Thanksgiving weekend as customers start
tackling their lists," Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow
said. "Although sales will remain an important factor for most
consumers, many will lean on convenient locations and easy-to-use
websites or mobile apps along with free shipping to complete their

For the eleventh year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items
on wish lists, requested by 61 percent of those surveyed, followed by
clothing and accessories at 55 percent, the highest level the category
has seen in 12 years. Two in five (39 percent) would like books, music
or movies, the lowest in survey history; others asked for consumer
electronics (33 percent), home décor (24 percent), jewelry (23 percent),
personal care or beauty items (21 percent), sporting goods (20 percent),
and home improvement items (18 percent).

The survey of 7,349 consumers was conducted October 3-10 and has a
margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

About Prosper Insights & Analytics

Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data
serving the financial services, marketing technology, and retail
industries. We provide global authoritative market information on US and
China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating a
variety of data including economic, behavioral and attitudinal data,
Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers' future behavior to
help identify market behaviors, optimize marketing efforts, and improve
the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns.

About NRF

NRF is the world's largest retail trade association, representing
discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main
Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet
retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is
the nation's largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four
U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to
annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation's economy.

NRF Holiday Headquarters

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