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NPD Group Looks Ahead to Holiday Spending

Posted: October 24, 2013

The NPD Group released the results of its Holiday Spending Survey, the twelfth annual survey of consumers’ holiday spending intentions. According to the report, the majority of consumers intend to spend the same as or more than last year, with fewer saying they plan to spend less.

“Consumers are feeling better about the economy compared to last year, and they plan to take advantage of sales during key periods,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “But this year’s holiday will be a tricky one for retailers. With fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, government distractions and lack of newness in the marketplace, retailers will have to rely more on promotions to excite the consumer.”

Consumers’ purchasing plans are similar to last year, with the same top 10 items on their holiday shopping list. “With no new trendy items besides some updated versions of the same hot products from past years, consumers will not shop with fear due to lack of inventory. The must-have items will also be available at a wider variety of retailers, minimizing the panic shopping of years past,” said Cohen.

Clothes, toys, movies/DVDs rank the top three purchase expectations, followed by fragrance in the No. 4 position. Fifteen percent of shoppers plan on making a fragrance purchase this holiday season, the same level as in 2012, and NPD also reports more consumers plan on purchasing skin care and makeup this year, compared to the 2012 holiday season (8% planned to purchase each in 2013, versus 7% in 2012). Additionally, compared to the 2012 holiday season, more consumers are planning on shopping at beauty specialty stores (14% in 2013, versus 13% in 2012).

Overall, the holiday shopping season will get off to an earlier start compared to last year. According to the NPD Annual Holiday Spending Survey, this year more consumers have already started, or will start shopping before Thanksgiving. “Consumers who plan to shop early expect the retailers to respond with extended store hours, and better deals offered earlier,” said Cohen.

Also, the expectations for shopping the online channel grew 5% compared to last year. High-income consumers, earning $75,000 or over, are more likely to shop this year on e-commerce sites. By comparison, other channels remained stable. “Researching online for the best deals will play a bigger role this year with social media continuing to influence consumers’ holiday purchases,” said Cohen. “The expansion of Black Friday weekend deals will also be a major player in the discount offerings. Look for promotions to start well ahead of Black Friday to create a much greater consumer opportunity for stores and online.”