New insights from The NPD Group reveal that 29 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend more on holiday shopping than they did last year, despite unchanged feelings about their own personal financial situations and the state of the economy.
NPD estimates holiday spending will rise 3 percent during the traditional November and December holiday shopping season and 5 percent when the season is expanded to include October and January.
According to the recent study from NPD that tracks holiday purchase intentions each year, nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers expect their 2021 holiday season will be more like it was last year, than it was during the pre-pandemic holiday season in 2019. However, alongside the accelerated growth in online shopping, and other enduring pandemic-based lifestyle and shopping shifts, the survey reveals a rise in consumer optimism about the holidays this year.
“It’s going to be a hybrid holiday this year, blending the return of a celebratory feeling with the now normalized pandemic lifestyle,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “We expect the consumer’s sustained propensity to spend will carry through the traditional November and December shopping period. However, shopping in the here-and-now, and other spending styles that have emerged during the pandemic will bring additional growth to the expanded October-into-January shopping season this year.”
More consumers are looking forward to the holidays, with less fear about COVID-19 than last year.
- One-third of consumers plan to buy more gifts because they will be seeing family and friends over the holidays
- Nearly one-half (47 percent) of consumers expect to visit or host family and friends for the holidays.
- Six out of ten consumers (58 percent) are more comfortable shopping in stores, now that vaccines are widely available.
- Thirty-two percent of consumers are less concerned than they were last year about the COVID-19 virus.
- The amount consumers plan to spend this year has increased, driven by consumers who plan to spend $1,000 or more.
Pandemic lifestyle and behaviors will be evident throughout the fabric of this holiday season.
- More than half (51 percent ) of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, compared to 49 percent last year.
- The biggest increase in anticipated holiday spending is expected in consumer technology and home products, which have also been among the most popular retail sales categories throughout the pandemic.
- More shopping continues to move online, with those who were store-only shoppers shifting to shopping both in stores and online.
- Free shipping, the top influencer for deciding where to shop, gained importance again this year. Quality and value also gained ground, compared to last year.
“New optimism, along with underlying uncertainty, are fueling shopping expectations, making this a more complex holiday season for consumers and marketers, alike,” Cohen said. “But retailers and manufacturers that remain flexible will be able to navigate the diverse landscape of consumer behavior and arrive at a successful holiday result.”