Great Expectations: Holiday Shopping Forecast

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The International Council of Shopping Centers forecasts total holiday spending to reach $832.3 billion, with 90% of shoppers spending in physical stores

holiday shopping forecast Xmas lights piggy bankThe New York-based International Council of Shopping Centers forecasts a 4.9% increase in holiday spending over last year for a total of $832.3 billion. The average adult is anticipated to spend $683 on holiday-related items. The annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey found that physical stores remain crucial to the success of the holiday shopping season, with 90% of U.S. adults planning to shop in-store for gifts and other related goods.

An overwhelming 97% of holiday shoppers plan to shop with a retailer that has a physical presence, and 82% of those consumers are likely to make an additional purchase in-store while picking up their online purchase.

“Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey once again shows that consumers are not only optimistic about the upcoming holiday season, but also continue to favor physical stores when shopping for gifts,” says Tom McGee, president and chief executive officer of the trade group. “Consumers expect convenience and experience when shopping, which means that those retailers with a good omnichannel strategy will likely see success this holiday season.”

The majority of holiday shopping will take place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. In fact, 86% of shoppers plan to complete their shopping during that time period. Additionally, nearly 60% of holiday shoppers plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend, with that number jumping to 73% for millennial shoppers. Again this year, promotions will drive in-store visits, with more than 60% of shoppers saying that searching for deals encourages them to make more trips to physical stores.

Topping the list of items shoppers will purchase this year are gift cards (63%), apparel/footwear/accessories (55%), toys/games (48%) and food/alcohol (43%). Holiday shoppers planning to buy electronics expect to spend most on video games/consoles (53%) and smartphones/accessories (50%).

The survey also found that 87% of shoppers plan to research online before going to stores, and 82% of shoppers who have a mobile device will use it in-store to compare prices, get digital coupons and check inventory.

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