From November 1 to January 2, I’m a sucker for everything red, green, silver and gold. From devouring my mom’s famous pumpkin pie and drawing names for secret Santa on Thanksgiving, to decorating a freshly-cut tree and carefully wrapping the perfect presents, I tend to go all out. But this year will be a little different. As a freshly-minted wife and a prospective first-time homeowner, I’ve had very little time to think about some of my favorite holiday traditions.
To be honest, with everything I have going on, it is safe to say my spending will be taking a nosedive this holiday season. And based on a study by Kelly Scott Madison (KSM) and ORC International, I’m not alone in this. The study surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers about their holiday shopping habits and general sentiments toward the season in the 2015 Holiday Shopping Study and found that the average U.S. consumer is predicting they will spend less this year than last. This statistic is largely driven by those that have budgeted between $251 to $1,000 for gifts this season, as these individuals plan on spending about 2 percent less this year.
While the overall reasons behind this dip in spending may not mirror my own, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows the sluggish growth is likely due to the fact that personal income and unemployment levels have remained virtually stagnant over the past three months.
The holiday shopping study did provide some good news for retailers and several more interesting tidbits on consumer spending this holiday season:
- Males are one segment that are predicting they’ll spend more this year, reporting a year-over-year increase of 4.6 percent.
- When compared to last year, online shopping and Cyber Monday are expected to see a noticeable increase this year, as planned shopping activity received a 20 percent growth this year.
- Online retailers may want to start considering free-shipping to capture more holiday sales, as 49 percent of in-store and 50 percent of online shoppers list shopping costs as one of the main inconveniences of online shopping.
- While making purchases on mobile devices is not yet the norm, using them to conduct research during the shopping experience certainly is. The study found that African-Americans, Hispanics and Millennials plan to use some sort of mobile devices while shopping in-store this year: 73, 83 and 89 percent, respectively.
- The overall sentiment of respondents on expanded holiday shopping hours and promotions were negative. In fact, about 70 percent of those surveyed feel that expanded holiday hours are not necessary.
- Eighty-one percent of in-store shoppers and 85 percent of online shoppers expect to use coupons this holiday season.
To view KSM’s full discussion of the study, visit ksmmedia.com.