MERIC NEWS LETTER

2013 Holiday Retail Sales Outlook
Cyber Monday Sales Break Record

Holiday Christmas Tree 2010Retail sales during the winter holiday season represent an indicator of economic activity and consumer sentiment. According to the National Retail Federation, the number of shoppers for the holiday increased from 139 million last year to a record breaking 141 million shoppers this year with average holiday shopper spending $407. Midwest consumers spent an average of $386 during Black Friday weekend. Total spending nationwide for the weekend was estimated $57.4 billion. Cyber Monday sales jumped 18 percent to rank as the heaviest spending day in history with online sales for the five day weekend topping 5.3 billion, a 22% increase from last year.

Different methods are used by each forecaster to predict holiday sales but all of them have predicted an increase this year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts an increase of 3.9 percent in holiday sales to $602.1 billion. The Deloitte & Touche Annual Holiday Survey forecasts an increase of 4.0 to 4.5 percent while the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts a 3.4 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is forecasting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a prediction of an increase of 13% to 15% this holiday shopping season.

NRF’s Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reported that consumers plan to spend a total of $737.95 nationwide, with Midwesterners averaging $740.61.

2013 National Retail Federation
Projected Midwest Holiday Spending

2013 Midwest Holiday Spending Chart
*The sum of the totals may be greater than 100 percent because the respondents can choose more than one answer.

Gift GivingDeloitte’s survey shows that nearly four in ten will do the majority of their shopping in December or later. Two-thirds of 2013 holiday shoppers will purchase items that are "on sale" and almost half will go online to find lower priced items for the 2013 Holiday. For the first time, the internet ranks number one on the list of venues respondents expect to shop. Over 68 percent of smart phone owners and 63 percent of tablet owners will use them to shop and comparison price for holiday gifts. Shopping "local" will be done by two-thirds of respondents, mostly to support the local economy or to find unique gifts.

According to National Retail Federation's Prosper and Insights Analytics survey, consumers indicated they being cautious this Holiday Season and will limit the "self-gifting" that had been prominent the last few years. Shoppers will be focused on making their dollar stretch by looking for sales and special promotions. According to people surveyed in the Midwest, almost four in ten (37.9 percent) indicated that the decision to shop at a particular store would be determined by price or discounts, followed by selection of merchandise (15.5 percent), quality of merchandise (14.3 percent) and everyday low prices (12.9 percent). Other consumers rated convenient location (6.0 percent) and customer service (4.1 percent) as most important.


This year’s in-demand holiday items include classic toys such as LEGO, Barbie, Bicycles and Cars and Trucks. Other in-demand items are iPads, XBox One, Furby, Monster High Dolls, Lalaloopsy Dolls, Skylanders and video games.

2013 Top Toys for Boys 2013 Top Toys for Girls
1. LEGO 1. Barbie
2. Video Games 2. Dolls (generic)
3. Cars & Trucks (generic) 3. Monster High Dolls
4. Hot Wheels 4. Disney Princesses (Tie)
5. Xbox One     Tablet/Apple iPad  (Tie)
6. PlayStation 4 6. American Girl (Tie)
7. Skylanders     Lalaloopsy (Tie)
8. Remote Controlled Vehicles 8. Furby
9. Action Figures 9. LEGO/LEGO Friends
10. Bicycle (Tie) 10. Elmo/Big Hugs Elmo
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tie) 11. Hello Kitty

Black Friday and Saturday, the first two holiday shopping days after Thanksgiving, have been dubbed thus because they represent the days when most retailers traditionally move the bottom line from red.

The NRF's Black Friday Weekend Survey conducted by Prosper and Insights Analytics survey, which covers Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected Sunday Sales, reported that consumers nationwide spent an average of $407. Midwest consumers spent an average of $386 this year on their holiday purchases. Black Friday weekend got off to a brisk start with most purchases being driven by retailers' efforts to lure shoppers with aggressive discounts and opening stores as early as Thanksgiving evening. Thanksgiving shopping grew 27% with nearly 45 million shoppers taking advantage of special Thanksgiving Sales. Over one-quarter of shoppers were in stores by 8:00 p.m. Thanksgiving evening.

2013 Top Midwest Black Friday Weekend
Spending Categories

2013 Balck Friday Spending Chart

*The sum of the totals may be greater than 100 percent because the respondents can choose more than one answer. 

According to comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world, Cyber Monday (December 2, 2013) was the heaviest U.S. online spending day in history. An estimated 1.735 billion was spent online. Total online spending for the five days covering Black Friday weekend through Cyber Monday totaled 5.3 billion, up 22% from last year. Over half of smart phone users browsed and shopped online. Top gaining categories were Consumer Electronics, Video Games & Consoles, Home & Garden, Apparel & Accessories and Sports & Fitness.

Still, consumer sentiment toward buying, along with economic and weather conditions, will play a large role in the overall results of retail spending this year. The accuracy of the analysts' predictions will remain to be seen as the holiday season continues.

Sources: International Council of Shopping Centers, National Retail Federation, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, cnn.com and comScore, INC., Internetretailer.com.

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