4 Reasons to Feel Good About the Holiday Shopping Season

By Maris Cohen, Content Marketing Manager, The NPD Group

We recently explored what people hate most about holiday shopping in stores, detailing consumer grumbles about the holiday shopping season. Because we also like to see the glass as half full, we were just as curious to see what people love about the retail holiday. Our findings almost made us forget all about the Debbie Downer takeaways from our last analysis. Here are a few reasons for retailers to celebrate this season:

  1. There are things people still actually enjoy about holiday shopping
    An increasing percentage of consumers consider shopping to be a festive activity in and of itself. In our Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey fielded in September 2015, we found 46 percent of the 3,620 consumers surveyed said simply going out shopping during the holidays puts them in the holiday spirit—an increase of 2 percentage points from last year. So there are still many people out there who enjoy holiday shopping as a recreational activity.

    What about it do they enjoy specifically? In an online poll conducted earlier this fall, our partner, CivicScience, asked more than 1,800 U.S. adults what they enjoy most when it comes to holiday shopping in stores. The bad news is that 41 percent of those surveyed did not like anything about holiday shopping in stores. The good news is that in-store shopping is not all about the Bah Humbug moments of lines and crowds.

    CivicScience found 26 percent of respondents loved holiday music, decorations, and displays most when shopping in stores. After that, it’s all about deals in stores (14 percent) and being able to see and touch the physical products (12 percent).

    CivicScience data reveals women are more likely than men to enjoy the holiday retail décor most, and Millennials are more likely to enjoy deals most. Men and people over age 65 are more likely to be holiday Grinches and like absolutely nothing about in-store shopping.

    In addition, people who enjoy holiday music, décor, and displays most are more brand loyal than people who enjoy other aspects of holiday shopping. They are slightly more likely to be loyal to their favorite brands and 42 percent less likely to have no loyalty to these brands. People who don’t like anything about holiday shopping in stores are 25 percent more likely to have no brand loyalty.

  2. Money struggles don’t get in the way of gifts 
    Consumers are increasingly upbeat about the holidays, and fewer feel limited by our economy, according to our Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey. We found fewer consumers (14 percent) believe the economy will have a significant impact on their holiday purchases compared to last year (19 percent). And 17 percent of consumers felt the economy would have no effect on their shopping, up from 15 percent last year.

    Source: The NPD Group’s 2015 Holiday Spending Intentions Survey, September 2015

    Moreover, consumers plan to spend a lot this holiday—on average $619 per person. That’s $32 more than their intentions a year ago, and it’s up across almost all income and age brackets.

  3. Consumers embrace the spirit of giving to those less fortunate
    ‘Tis the season for giving: 68 percent of NPD’s survey respondents agreed with the statement, “Giving to those less fortunate than myself is an important part of the holiday season,” compared to 65 percent in 2014. Even more heartwarming, this lift in philanthropic spirit was higher for those with an income under $75,000 annually (a 4-percentage point increase).

    There also seems to be a correlation between positive holiday shopping spirit and philanthropy. CivicScience data shows people who love holiday music, decorations, and displays most are 56 percent more likely to donate to religious non-profit organizations than people who don’t do holiday shopping in stores. Those who enjoy deals in stores are 59 percent more likely than non in-store shoppers to donate to these organizations.

  4. People are pumped for the holiday season despite all the work that accompanies it  
    NPD found 59 percent of consumers report looking forward to the holidays, an increase from 54 percent last year. But many of us have those years when December rolls around and we wish we could just unsubscribe from the holidays all together, come to a common agreement to skip the whole gift dance, and pocket our hard-earned funds.

    Though at times appealing, there’s something about that scenario that’s a little depressing. And apparently shoppers agree. Fewer respondents (25 percent) agreed with the statement “Preparing for the holidays is so much work; I’m not sure it’s worth it” compared to last year (28 percent). And people are still holding on to the physical gift tradition: 38 percent would prefer an outing with friends to gifts, fewer than last year’s 40 percent. 

So if you’re a retailer or manufacturer entering the most competitive season in retail, take comfort in the fact that for many, it’s still the most wonderful time of the year.  

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