Independents’ stores to draw a quarter of all seasonal traffic

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Transactional websites are the destination of choice for holiday shoppers this season.

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF’s) annual holiday survey, 59% of U.S. consumers plan to shop online between now and Christmas, driving e-commerce sales up as much as 9% over last year, to a total of $279 billion. The retail trade association said the preference for websites represents one of the biggest shifts in consumer behavior from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Websites are followed in popularity by department stores (49%), discount stores (48%) and grocery stores (44%). Independent dealers will be visited by 24% of all holiday shoppers, the poll showed, with electronics stores trailing at 20%, both unchanged from last year.

Gift cards continue to be the most wished for gift, cited by 55% of consumers surveyed. Electronics and home décor tied for fifth place with “a gift of experience,” at 23% each, while 16% of respondents are hoping to find a home improvement product under the tree.

All told, U.S. consumers are expected to spend upwards of $967 billion on gifts and holiday-related fare during November and December, or roughly $875 on average — a record total that’s up about 4% from last year.

“It is not surprising to see holiday sales growth returning to pre-pandemic levels,” said NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay. “Overall household finances remain in good shape and will continue to support the consumer’s ability to spend.”

That said, consumers are still looking to stretch a buck. Sixty-two percent said sales and promotions are even more important to them this year than last year when shopping for gifts, and about one-third (36%) say they are cutting back in other areas to cover the cost of holiday items.

The holiday survey was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, which queried 8,103 adult consumers Oct. 2-9.

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