Nov 7, 2019

Americans are ready to spend on holiday shopping, but expect steep discounts

Photo: Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images

Americans plan to increase their holiday spending, with the average rising to about $675 on gifts this holiday season, according to a survey provided first to Axios by The Conference Board. That is an increase from last year's estimate of $627.

Yes, but: Consumers say they are expecting steep discounts, with more than a third reporting they expect — at a minimum — to buy half of their gifts on sale.

  • "Consumers will be discerning when spending," The Conference Board says in a release accompanying the data.
  • "Most will expect bargains, comparison shop, and wait up to the last minute for steep discounts."

The intrigue: Consumers continue to move online for holiday purchases. The Conference's Board survey, conducted by data provider Nielsen, found that 42% of respondents expect to do at least half of their holiday shopping online. That's up from just under 37% in 2017.

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Holiday shoppers are unfazed by recession fears

Reproduced from an Experian chart; Chart: Axios Visuals

More Americans say they are worried about a recession next year and are getting more cautious about their spending habits and debt, but that didn't slow down their holiday shopping.

Driving the news: Data from Adobe Analytics shows Black Friday spending increased by nearly 20% over last year, rising to $7.4 billion, even as fewer retailers offered big in-store discounts. Brick-and-mortar stores saw an overall 6% decline in sales, according to preliminary data from ShopperTrak.

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Online retailers dominate holiday shopping

An Amazon fulfillment center, fully stocked for Black Friday. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

More and more people are dodging the long lines and busy parking lots of Black Friday — and planning to do their holiday shopping online instead.

The big picture: Despite headlines and reports describing a retail apocalypse, brick-and-mortar stores still easily trump e-commerce sites, with online shopping claiming only about 10% of all retail. But when it comes to shopping around the holidays, online has a much larger share.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

Cyber Monday's rise comes at Black Friday's expense

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

54% of American consumers said they will do most of their holiday shopping online this year, highlighting the rise of Cyber Monday, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Consumers' tendency to stay at home is forcing retailers to rethink how they offer deals on Cyber Monday and Black Friday — two of the biggest shopping days of the year — especially since the former offers loads of data that can allow for companies to make on-the-fly decisions about their offers.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019