Consumers Have a More Positive Outlook Leading into 2015 Holiday Season

Majority of Consumers Plan to Maintain their Level of Holiday Spending this Year

Port Washington, NY, October 5, 2015 – Consumers have a more positive outlook going into this holiday season, according to the 2015 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey from global information company The NPD Group.

More people, both men and women, agreed with positive statements around giving to those less fortunate, shopping for the holidays, and general holiday anticipation, while fewer survey respondents agreed with negative statements.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, 2014 and 2015

“Consumers are ready to spend for the holidays, more so than in recent years,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “However, manufacturers and retailers need to pay close attention to what is driving the consumer mindset, and deliver product that anticipates inevitable shifts in their thinking over the course of the season. Positive consumer perceptions combined with holiday promotions, could drive early impulse purchases, but the market has to deliver enticing product that consumers want and need in order to build on that momentum and keep them spending.”

Narrowing the Spending Intentions Gap

While the majority of consumers plan to maintain their level of holiday spending in 2015, a higher percentage plan on spending more this year (15 percent) compared to last year (12 percent). At the same time, 16 percent plan on spending less this year, compared to 20 percent in 2014. This shows that the gap is narrowing between those who plan on spending less and those who plan on spending more -- the closest these two groups have come in the past three years. Going hand-in-hand with this, the mean spend for holiday shopping, based on consumer intentions at the time of this year’s survey, is $619 -- a 5 percent increase compared to what consumers said they planned on doing at the same time in 2014.

Assuming they will be spending less on gas than they were a year ago, more than half of consumers plan to save the additional money or spend it on themselves or others, as opposed to putting it toward bills and other expenses. Among those who plan on spending those freed-up funds, one-third will use it toward necessities for their home, one-third will put it toward travel plans, 22 percent will spend it on gifts for friends or family, and 21 percent will purchase something for themselves.

On-Demand Involvement Is More Important Than Ever Before

Almost two-thirds of consumers say they will enlist pre-purchase research. Online research and consumer reviews both continue to lead the way and grow in importance when it comes to the resources consumers will look to during the holidays. Consumers want quick, easy-to-access information, and real-life input on products from the people using them, not the people selling them.

“Just as the consumer mindset is one component to holiday success, the holiday season is one leg of the larger retail marathon – it’s not the finish line,” added Cohen. “Consumers are more complex, and marketers have more opportunities to reach them than ever before. Truly connecting with consumers requires interaction and omnipresence, emphasizing a complete experience that extends beyond channels, beyond traditional methods, and beyond the holiday season.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, 2015

The Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey objective is to better understand consumers’ spending intentions for the upcoming holiday season. An online survey was fielded in September 2015 to members of NPD’s online consumer panel. The survey was fielded to a US representative sample and completed by 3,620 individuals aged 18 and older.

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