Holiday Forecast: Sales Expected to Grow 4%

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Nov. 22, 2016

holiday shoppingHoliday sales figures generally grow or shrink in line with the U.S. economy. Just as the U.S. GDP has shown slow, steady growth since the end of the recession, so too have holiday sales. Last year’s holiday sales grew by 3.2 percent. This year’s growth is expected to be between 3.5 and 4 percent.

Beyond holiday sale forecasts, JLL found two other major themes in a survey of both shoppers and retailers.

  • Survey results revealed a split in shopping habits between Millennials and Gen Xers in one camp and Boomers and over 70s in the other. The younger cohort expressed a greater preference for discount department stores and online shopping, citing low prices as their biggest influence. The older groups prefer traditional department stores and claim quality as their biggest influence.
  • Shoppers and retailers displayed an expectation gap around the holiday season. Sixty-eight percent of shoppers said the holiday season starts on Black Friday, but only 37.2 percent of retailers agree.

Shopping influences, destinations & budgets vary by age

Generational divides are pronounced with Millennials and Gen Xers in one camp and Baby Boomers and over 70s in the other. Preferences between these two age cohorts differ in terms of holiday budgets, shopping destinations and influencing factors.

The younger cohort of shoppers point to low prices as the biggest influencer of where they shop. Millennials and Gen Xers overwhelmingly cite discount department stores as their preferred shopping destinations. Along those same lines, 30.8 percent of millennials said they will spend $250 or less on holiday shopping. Only 10.7 percent of Baby Boomers are budgeting this amount.

Baby Boomers and Over 70s cited quality as the biggest influencer of where they choose to shop. More than 60 percent of Baby Boomers and 70 percent of Over 70s cited traditional department stores as their top shopping destinations. In the search for quality, almost a quarter of Baby Boomers will spend more than $1,000 this season on holiday shopping. In contrast, only 8.6 percent of Millennials plan to spend that amount.

Holiday expectation gap between shoppers and retailers

Objections to “Christmas Creep” seem to get louder each year as boughs of holly appear earlier and earlier. Survey results of retailers and shoppers reveal a gap between the two groups as to when the holidays begin.

Almost 70 percent of shoppers consider the day after Thanksgiving to be the start of the holiday season. However, only 37.2 percent of retailers agree. Most retailers say the holiday season begins immediately after Halloween.

To learn more about holiday shopping in Houston, listen to this recent report from Houston Public Media.

To download JLL’s 2016 Holiday Forecast Retail Survey click here.

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