Port Washington, N.Y. – Holiday spending levels will remain largely unchanged from last year, according to a new consumer survey by The NPD Group.
The poll shows that more than two-thirds of consumers, or 67 percent, plan to spend about the same on holiday shopping as they did last year.
However, that figure is up 5 percent from last year, while 15 percent fewer people said they will spend less this Christmas.
Only 10 percent plan to spend more, up from 9 percent last year.
As for retail venue, CE specialty stores were cited by 17 percent of respondents as a planned destination — tied with outlet stores and warehouse clubs, and flat from last year. Discount chains continue to dominate the field, with fully 50 percent of planned visits.
Shoppers are also starting their holiday shopping sooner this year. Sixteen percent had already begun when the survey was conducted in early September, compared with 17 percent last year, and 21 percent plan to start before Thanksgiving, compared with 19 percent in 2011.
According to NPD’s chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen, “While consumer confidence seems to be up, retailers will still face some challenges,” including the distraction of a presidential election. “They will need to develop creative ways to lure shoppers into the stores.”
Cohen also expects shoppers to make more practical purchases rather than splurge on luxury treats, and warns that drug stores and supermarkets are becoming the latest competition for traditional retailers as channel lines increasingly blur. “Now that consumers are less attracted to sale prices and more attracted to selection as well as convenience, stocking the right items will be essential to drive foot traffic,” he observed.
“Consumers tell us they want to shop more,” he added, “but without the ‘it’ item and lack of pent-up demand, this could be the Christmas of Contradictions.”
The NPD poll, “Holiday Survey of Consumer Purchase Intentions,” is based on 3,618 completed consumer surveys.