Survey hints at how home can grab some of that higher holiday spending

NEW YORK — Consumers are intent on making this a merry holiday by spending more despite their acknowledgement that prices are rising and inflation is having an impact. However, the home category will be challenged to get its share of that windfall.

The 2023 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey finds the average spend for the holidays will be $1,652, which represents a 14% year-over-year increase, or a more modest 2.5% when compounded annually over four years. Nearly all consumers surveyed plan to take part in the season (95%), which is up from 92% last and 88% in 2021, reflecting a return to pre-pandemic levels.

When asked which holiday categories were the tops for gifting this year, gift cards took over the No. 1 spot, edging out clothing and accessories. Home and kitchen, meanwhile, dropped to the bottom of the list, replaced by health and wellness-related presents.

Where home does have some momentum is in the non-gift sector, which accounts for $466, or about 28%, of the anticipated $1,652 total. From that total, consumers are also allocating $554, or about 34% to gifts, with the remainder going toward experiences such as entertaining at home and frequenting restaurants or events.

Of the 82% who plan to shop for non-gift items, 59% will be spending some of that money on home furnishings and holiday decorations, according to Deloitte’s survey. While the average spend on non-gift is $466, it rises among those with incomes of $100,000 to $199,000 to $600 and jumps to $1,001 for consumers in the $200,000-plus income bracket.

In fact, high-income individuals are planning to spend far above the $1,652 average this year, with $100,000 to $199,000 earners setting aside $2,167 for holiday purchases, and the $200,000-plus crowd earmarking nearly $4,000.

Home furnishings could also attract those who plan to buy gifts for themselves, which could be as high as 75% of those surveyed. Practical/useful gifts are desired by 51% of self-gifters, while comforting/relaxing ones (39%) and long-lasting use items (39%) are also highly rated.

Nearly three-fourths of consumers are anticipating higher prices across the board this year, but the biggest increases are expected in food and beverage (86%). The survey found 72% of consumers expect home and kitchen prices to be higher as well.

And despite the efforts to spur earlier shopping, two-thirds of holiday shoppers plan to do so during Thanksgiving week vs. 49% in 2022, most likely lured by the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

The Deloitte survey, which was fielded between Aug. 30 and Sept. 8, polled 4,330 consumers. It also surveyed 43 retail executives between June 23 and 30.

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