Consumer Holiday Spending Expected To Decline Slightly

deals, holiday shopping, 5WPR

With the holiday shopping season starting earlier this year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) found in a recent survey that consumers on average will spend nearly $1,000 this year on gifts and other seasonal-related items.

The annual survey conducted by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics revealed that consumers plan to spend $997.79 this year, down about $50 from 2019. Nearly all of the decrease comes from consumers’ hesitation to use seasonal sales and promotions to buy non-gift purchases for themselves and family members. 

“Consumers have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability throughout these extraordinary times,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and CEO. “Looking ahead to the holiday season, retailers will ensure that their stores are safe for both customers and employees as we all prepare to celebrate family and friends during this special time of the year.”


One in five (19%) holiday shoppers say that they typically travel for the holidays but will stay home instead this year. More than half (53%) of those who changed their holiday travel plans said they are likely to spend more on holiday items this year, specifically because they will not be traveling.

With holiday inventory and promotions starting earlier than usual, consumers remain flexible with their holiday shopping plans. The vast majority admit they could be convinced to start shopping earlier than they typically do through incentives like holiday deals or to avoid crowds or the stress of last-minute shopping.

“Consumers are taking advantage of a variety of offerings from retailers this holiday season including earlier sales promotions and shipping options,” Phil Rist, Executive Vice President of Strategy with Prosper Insights & Analytics. “Consumers are focusing on making the holidays special for others but are playing it by ear when it comes to those ‘extra’ items they might get for themselves.”

As online sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic, it comes as no surprise that the majority (60%) of consumers say they plan to purchase holiday items online this year. Nearly all (91%) online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping, while another 44% plan to use buy online, pick up in-store and 16% plan to use same-day delivery.

Other top holiday shopping destinations for consumers include department stores (45%), discount stores (43%), and grocery stores or supermarkets (42%).

The survey asked 7,660 consumers about holiday shopping plans. It was conducted October 1-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.