Holiday retail sales are expected to grow by 3.6% driven by growing consumer optimism about personal finances, Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed indicate they are more confident in their financial situation than last year (37%), and 48% plan to start their holiday shopping earlier this year.
According to an independent study by RTi Research for Synchrony Financial improved finances and larger gift lists are cited as reasons that 32% of shoppers surveyed plan to spend more this season than last season, up from 21% in 2014. Toys, games, electronics, apparel, shoes and gift cards are key gift buying categories. At the same time, over half (53%) of participants set a holiday budget and 76% report they always comparison shop to ensure the best price.
While shoppers surveyed are more confident, deals remain essential for holiday buying, and 39% report they expect to get the best deals on Black Friday. Of participants who expect to spend more this season, 90% intend to shop on special sale days. One-third of all respondents plan to start shopping before Black Friday, 54% expect to make a purchase on Black Friday, and 55% on Cyber Monday. Online research is an important part of the purchase process, especially for higher ticket items. Specifically, survey participants plan to purchase online more home improvement and electronics items in the $500+ category.
In-store still dominates for holiday shopping, but it’s a multi-channel experience. Holiday shopping online is considered easier by 70% of shoppers surveyed, and the most important reasons for buying online include free shipping, price and convenience. While online sales are growing at approximately 10% year-over-year3, 51% of participants report they typically find out about holiday sales from their newspaper.
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