Post-Election Distraction: Early Holiday Promotions Not Yet Driving Sales Growth

NPD Holiday Shopping Bag 2016 Weekly Report

Consumers may still be suffering from post-election distraction, and even the flurry of early retailer promotions hasn’t caught their attention.  According to The NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories, second week holiday sales were down 8 percent compared to same week results in 2015. 

Week Ending November 12, 2016*

Overall Performance

  • Dollar sales in the second week of November 2016 were 8 percent lower than they were in the second week of November 2015.
  • Each of the five industries being tracked — Apparel, Toys, Technology, Athletic Footwear, and Prestige Fragrances — saw dollar sales declines.
  • Technology and apparel continue to account for the most sales, but displayed the largest declines compared to last year.
  • Declines in dollar sales of athletic footwear and fragrances were minimized by increases in the average amount spent per item.

“Classic holiday winners, like apparel and tech, are lagging a bit early on, but it’s just not their time yet. New, more innovative products that tend to be gobbled up before Thanksgiving – often self-gifted – will do well early on,” said Chief Industry Analyst, Marshal Cohen.

Top Performing Categories

  • Sport Leisure Shoes (Classics)
  • Home Automation (Security & Monitoring)
  • Stereo Headphones
  • Kids Outdoor & Sports Toys
  • Children/Infant Apparel Sets

“The increased competition from both brick and click coming earlier in the holiday season has retailers jockeying for position in the consumer’s spending plan, and we can see how those efforts are playing out,” said Cohen. “Retailers are front-loading the season with promotions, creating a shift in spending cadence and making year-over-year growth more challenging. While some consumers take advantage of these early deals, there is still an important second wave that happens closer to the holiday – consumers know the deals will keep coming.”

* Information is collected from a panel of leading retailers that provide weekly point-of-sale data covering in-store and online sales of Apparel, Toys, Technology, Athletic Footwear, and Prestige Fragrances. 
Note: Shifts may occur from week to week in reporting results, due to retailer reporting updates.

For more information, or to speak with Marshal Cohen, please contact Janine Marshall, 516-625-2356 or, and visit NPD’s Holiday Insights page.

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