Nov 11, 2020
Retail Customers Prioritize Spending on Family, Friends this Holiday Season

Buying gifts for friends and loved ones is a way for consumers to shift focus from the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic to celebrating the holidays and the promise of our return to a better tomorrow. In total, consumers plan to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional “non-gift” purchases for themselves and their families, according to a recent survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“Consumers have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability throughout these extraordinary times,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Looking ahead to the holiday season, retailers will ensure that their stores are safe for both customers and employees as we all prepare to celebrate family and friends during this special time of the year.”

While overall spending in these categories is down by about $50 from last year, nearly all ($45) of the decrease comes from consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy other, non-gift purchases for themselves and their families.

Even still, consumer spending on gifts is on par with last year, decreasing by only about $8, while per person spending on other holiday items like decorations is actually up slightly. Expected spending remains significantly higher than the 5-year average for both those categories. The holiday season is top of mind, with 42% saying they planned to start their holiday shopping by the end of October and another 41% in November.

“Consumers are taking advantage of a variety of offerings from retailers this holiday season including earlier sales promotions and shipping options,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Consumers are focusing on making the holidays special for others but are playing it by ear when it comes to those ‘extra’ items they might get for themselves.”


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