Retailers to Prepare for Post-Election Holiday Shopping

Consumers Plan to Put Themselves on the Top of Shopping Lists

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With the election falling in the middle of holiday shopping, as of
mid-October many U.S. consumers say they will have a more conservative
holiday spending budget this year. According to the National Retail
Federation’s annual consumer spending survey conducted by Prosper
Insights & Analytics, consumers plan to spend an average of $935.58
during the holiday shopping season. Total spending includes gifts for
others, self-spending, food, flowers, decorations and greeting cards for
Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Total planned spending this year is
second only to the record total spending in 2015, at $952.58.

“Everywhere you turn — whether you’re picking up a newspaper or watching
television — political advertisements are taking up ad space that
retailers typically use to get holiday
on the minds of consumers across the country,” NRF
President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Once the election has passed, we
anticipate consumers will pull themselves out of the election doldrums
and into the holiday spirit.”

In a separate NRF flash poll conducted last week, more than a quarter of
consumers say the election will impact their spending plans for the
holidays. In addition, 43 percent say they are being more cautious with
their spending due to the uncertainty of the election season. However,
when push comes to shove, 87 percent of consumers could be convinced to
spend an extra $25 this holiday season if tempted by a good sale or
promotion, the perfect gift for themselves or others or free shipping.*

“Retailers should prepare for a rush of consumers in the weeks following
the presidential election as they get more economic and political
certainty and are looking to take advantage of promotions and deals that
are too good to pass up for their friends, family and even themselves,”
Shay said.

Fifty-eight percent of consumers plan to buy for themselves, spending an
average of $139.61, up 4 percent from last year’s $133.74 and marking
the second-highest level of personal spending in the survey’s 13-year

“Many shoppers are taking the approach of ‘one for you, two for me’ this
holiday season,” Shay said. “Retailers are preparing by offering a wide
array of merchandise and promotions — items shoppers want to give as
great gifts at prices so good they want to buy for themselves too.”

According to the survey, consumers say they will spend $588.90 on gifts
for others and $207.07 for items such as food, decorations, flowers and
greeting cards this year.

Consumers will shop around, splitting their time almost evenly between
three top destinations: department stores (57 percent), online (also 57
percent) and discount stores (56 percent). The survey found 45 percent
plan to visit a grocery store/supermarket, 34 percent will shop at
clothing stores, 27 percent at electronics stores and 23 percent at
small or local businesses. Ten percent of those shopping plan to visit
outlet stores, a new category added to the survey this year.

Most online shoppers will take advantage of free shipping (93 percent of
those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store or
ship-to-store (47 percent). In addition, 17 percent will take advantage
of expedited shipping and 10 percent will use same-day delivery.

Close to half of consumers have been tackling their holiday lists early
again this year, with 41 percent saying they started shopping in October
or earlier. The same percentage said they will start in November, and 18
percent will wait until December. Of the early shoppers, 63 percent say
they are trying to spread out their budgets while 49 percent want to
avoid the crowds and stress of last-minute shopping.

“While many holiday shoppers are starting early on their gift lists,
Millennials are waiting to catch the best deals for their gifts, with
nearly half (46 percent) waiting until November to start shopping,”
Prosper Insights Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Younger
consumers are likely to be looking forward to the Thanksgiving/Black
Friday shopping ‘experience’ — and know that retailers will be offering
great promotions that weekend.”

Gift cards remain among the most popular gifts, sought by 61 percent of
those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories (54 percent),
books, CDs, DVDs or videos (40 percent, the lowest in survey history as
digital downloads replace hard-copy media), consumer electronics (32
percent), jewelry and home décor (both at 23 percent), personal care or
beauty items (21 percent), sporting goods (19 percent) and home
improvement items (17 percent).

The Prosper Analytics & Insights survey, which asked 7,733 consumers
about holiday shopping plans, was conducted October 4-11 and has a
margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points. The survey
reflects a snapshot of consumers’ spending plans during that moment in

For information on NRF’s economic forecast, which is based on an
economic model using indicators such as housing data, unemployment and
previous monthly retail sales reports, see

*The NRF flash poll, conducted by ORC International on October 20-23,
asked 1,021 consumers about their spending plans considering the
upcoming election, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1
percentage points.

Full data results surrounding this survey will not be published on
If you are a member of the press or an analyst and require additional
information on our Holiday survey results, please contact Ana Serafin
Smith at

About Prosper Insights & Analytics

Prosper Insights & Analytics delivers executives timely,
consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive
resource of information, Prosper represents the voice of the consumer
and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the
economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and
world issues.

About NRF

NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing
discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main
Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet
retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is
the nation’s largest private sector employer, supporting one in four
U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to
annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This
is Retail
campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for
life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities, and the
critical role retail plays in driving innovation.

NRF Holiday Headquarters


National Retail Federation
Ana Serafin Smith, 855-NRF-PRESS