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Holiday 2017 vs. Holiday 2016: Apples to Apples, or Apples to Oranges?

Oct 27, 2017
Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Advisor ;

Every year we talk about how the upcoming holiday season will compare to the prior, but sometimes that isn’t the best comparison to make.  

Understanding how the 2017 holiday season will measure up against the 2015 shopping season is potentially more accurate than looking at the 2016 season. The reason is that last year was an election year, which historically has a greater impact on the holiday shopping season. Election-year distraction goes deeper than other factors.

NPD’s latest Holiday Purchase Intentions survey shows that although the anticipated 2017 holiday spending is relatively equal to the 2016 holiday season, it is even closer to the 2015 season. While the shifts are slight, the good news is that regardless of the basis for comparison, the shifts are favorable.

Holiday 2016’s actual sales results were up less than two percent vs. 2015. As a result of the lack of election noise impacting shopping behavior, Holiday 2017 should be more in line with 2015, where we saw 3.2 percent sales growth.

While there are always external factors occurring that may be a distraction from holiday shopping, one holiday season is not like the last. We need to be aware of the bigger factors influencing consumer mindset, and ultimately consumer spending behavior to truly understand the consumer’s psyche heading into this important shopping season.

 *Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / 2017 Holiday Purchase Intentions Study

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