Retail sales during the winter holiday season represent an indicator of economic activity and consumer sentiment. According to the National Retail Federation, 87 million shoppers were out shopping on the kickoff holiday weekend, a decrease of 5%. Holiday consumers purchased $50.9 billion in gifts over the Black Friday weekend. However online sales during the Thanksgiving weekend were up 32% to $766 million and online Black Friday sales were up 26% to $1.2 billion according to comScore, a retail analytics firm.
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 4.1 percent in holiday sales to $625 billion and still holds to the prediction in spite of the lower-than-expected start to the shopping season. 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 4.0 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is forecasting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a prediction of an increase of 16% this holiday shopping season.
NRF’s Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reported that consumers plan to spend a total of $804.15 nationwide, with Midwesterners averaging $808.15.
2014 National Retail Federation
Projected Midwest Holiday Spending
Deloitte’s survey shows that nearly six in ten will do the majority of their shopping in November or later. Three-quarters of 2014 holiday shoppers will purchase items that are "on sale" and almost half will go online to find lower priced items for the Holiday. For the second year, the internet ranks number one on the list of venues respondents expect to shop. Over eight in ten smart phone owners and tablet owners will use them to shop and comparison price for holiday gifts. Shopping "local" will be done by almost half of respondents, mostly for convenience or to find unique gifts.
According to National Retail Federation's Prosper Insights Analytics survey, consumers indicated that consumers are looking for inspiring gifts and over half will "self-gift" if items needed are on sale. Shoppers will be focused on making their dollar stretch by looking for sales and special promotions. According to people surveyed in the Midwest, almost three-quarters (77.3%) indicated that the decision to shop at a particular store would be determined by price or discounts, followed by quality of merchandise (61.9%), selection of merchandise (59.1%) and convenient location (47.8%), every-day low prices (40.6%) and free shipping and promotions (40.5%). Other consumers rated no hassle return policy (30.5%) and customer service (30.4%) as most important.
This year’s in-demand holiday items include classic toys such as LEGO, Barbie, Hot Wheels and Cars and Trucks. The all-time number one Barbie was pushed to number two in the top ten list by the Disney Frozen. Other in-demand items are iPads, XBox One, Playstation 4, Monster High Dolls, American Girl Dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and video games.
|2014 Top Toys for Boys||2014 Top Toys for Girls|
|1. LEGO||1. Disney Frozen|
|2. Cars & Trucks||2. Barbie|
|3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||3. Dolls|
|4. Video Games||4. Monster High Dolls|
|5. Hot Wheels||5. American Girl|
|6. Xbox One||6. LEGO|
|7. Playstation 4||7. Tablet/Apple iPAD|
|8. Transformers||8. My Little Pony|
|9. Remote Controlled Vehicles||9.Disney Doc McStuffins|
|10. Marvel Action Figure||10. Apparel|
|Tablet/ Apple iPAD (Tie)||11. Disney Princess|
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 Insights Analytics survey, which covers Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected Sunday Sales, reported that consumers nationwide spent an average of $380.95. Midwest consumers spent an average of $356.78 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. Almost one-third of shoppers were out by 11 p.m. Thursday evening.
2014 Top Midwest
Black Friday Gifts Purchased
*The sum of the totals may be greater than 100 percent because the respondents can choose more than one answer.
According to Prosper Insight Analytics Cyber Monday Survey over eight in ten adults in the Midwest used a computer, smart phone or tablet to order merchandise. A total of 242 million adults nationally ordered gifts online Monday. A report from Shoppertrak that uses data from retailers found a 25% increase in Thanksgiving traffic over 2013.
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, Prosper Insight Analytics, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, cnn.com and comScore, INC., Internetretailer.com and shoppertrak.com.