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Three Optimistic Holiday Forecasts Say Consumers Ready To Spend Big; Want Easy, Digital, And Local |  October 05, 2016 (0 comments)

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New York, NY—Holiday spending forecasts released this week from the National Retail Federation (NRF), Deloitte, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are predicting anywhere from a 3.6% rise to a 10% rise over 2015 holiday sales.

Rancorous politics aside, sound economic fundamentals—gains in both jobs and income, plus rising home values and net worth—are driving each organization’s forecasts.

The NRF predicts a 3.6% increase overall, but a 7% to 10% increase in online sales. Holiday hiring will remain in line with last year—approximately 640,000 to 690,000 temporary positions will need to be filled.

Deloitte predicts 3.6% to 4% gains, and emphasizes that digital interactions will influence 2/3 of every in-store dollar spent.

Meanwhile, PriceWaterhouseCoopers is predicting a very bullish 10%, the highest point since the Great Recession.

PWC also did a deeper dive survey into some key trends for the holiday. According to its findings, consumers are primed to spend an average of 10% more than last year, or about $1,121 each. More key findings:

The best news for better jewelers is that local independent brands matter more than ever to consumers. Almost 75% of consumers plan to shop locally and 56% will seek independent retailers. Brands matter to 80% of PWC’s survey respondents—whether established household names, local businesses, independent retailers, or new entrants.

There’s a disconnect between what consumers really want vs. what they plan to give: 52% of consumer surveyed plan to give physical gifts, but only 27% want to receive physical gifts. The majority (42%) would rather receive gift cards and choose their own, while 31% would like an experiential gift rather than a physical one. But only 16% of givers plan on gifting an experience and 32% will give gift cards.

Hipsters—the college-educated, upwardly mobile Millennial equivalent of the Boomer Yuppie—will outspend all consumers in their respective demographics. And a fair bit of that spending will be self-gifting.

Gen Z (younger siblings of Millennials) is starting to have an impact, and reaching them is best done through social channels. These digital natives care much more about reviews from family and friends than ads.

Millennial parents are very generous—57% will spend more this year than last, and more on others than themselves. 81% will donate to their favorite cause this year. But they’re busy as can be, juggling jobs and kids, so they’re looking for a fast transaction and to pay by mobile.

Really, everyone is busy. And everyone wants an easy, fast, frictionless checkout experience, whether online or in-store. They also want in-store Wifi to check for product availability, knowledgeable sales associates, and enjoy in-store events.

Both digital and mobile shopping are up 25% from last year. (Editor’s note: if you haven’t yet reserved a space for the 25 in 5 e-commerce conference on October 17 in Miami Beach, this is a good reason to do so ASAP!)

There’s always a deal somewhere—and consumers know it. While luxury shoppers may not be as price-driven, it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to look to see if they can get it for less. 

Free shipping and free returns are a must-have to consumers for holiday, and so is a social conscience. Shoppers will give at least $244 to their favorite causes, and 75% of retailers will make a charitable contribution. That, the survey found, is also good business: almost all respondents said they favor retailers who are committed to corporate responsibility.

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