2012 Holiday Retail Sales Outlook

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, average holiday spending for the weekend following Thanksgiving was up 9.3 percent, with the average holiday shopper spending $423.55. Midwest consumers spent an average of $399.39 during Black Friday weekend. Total spending nationwide for the weekend was estimated at a record-breaking $59.1 billion.

Each forecaster uses different methods 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 $586.1 billion. The Deloitte & Touche Annual Holiday Survey forecasts a decrease of 6.1 percent while the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts a 3.0 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is forecasting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a prediction of an increase of 15% to 18% this holiday shopping season.

NRF’s Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reported that consumers plan to spend a total of $749.51 nationwide, with Midwesterners averaging $706.82.

2012 National Retail Federation
Projected Midwest Holiday Spending

*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 two-thirds of 2012 holiday shoppers will purchase items that are "on sale" and over half will purchase lower priced items for the 2012 Holiday. Clothing is the top gift consumers expect to purchase. Over 65 percent of smart phone owners will use them to shop and comparison price for holiday gifts. Nearly seven in ten smart phone owners will be utilizing their phones to check store locations (62 percent), compare prices (58 percent), check product information (50 percent) and shop and browse online (45 percent).

According to BIGresearch, nearly six in ten shoppers plan to make additional personal purchases to take advantage of steep discounts and sales. Shoppers will be focused on making their dollar stretch by looking for sales and special promotions. According to people surveyed in the Midwest, nearly four in ten (38.4 percent) indicated that the decision to shop at a particular store would be determined by price or discounts, followed by selection of merchandise (16.6 percent) and everyday low prices (13.6 percent). Another 13.3 percent indicated quality of merchandise would be the most important. Other consumers rated customer service (5.2 percent) and convenient location (5.1 percent) as most important.

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, which covers Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected Sunday Sales, reported that consumers nationwide spent an average of $423.55. Midwest consumers spent an average of $399.39 this year on their holiday purchases. Black Friday weekend got off to a recording breaking start with most purchases being driven by retailers' efforts to lure shoppers with aggressive discounts and opening stores as early as Thanksgiving evening. Almost eight of ten shoppers also purchased non-gift items, taking advantage of the deep discounts by retailers. Total sales for the weekend topped $59.1 billion, with 247 million people out shopping and visiting online retailers, up from 226 million last year.

2012 Top Midwest Black Friday Weekend
Spending Categories

2011 Balck Friday Spending Chart

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

Many retailers are breathing a collective sigh of relief with the record sales for the start of the 2012 holiday shopping season. The NRF’s Black Friday Weekend Survey shows that Midwest consumers reported that 39.4 percent had completed their holiday shopping while nationally 41.5 percent had finished all holiday purchases.

This year’s in-demand holiday items include the smart phones, tablets, iPad, Nintendo 3DS, Furby, Monster High Dolls, Master Moves Mickey, Lalaloopsy Dolls, Leapster, and Twister Dance Game.

Analysts expect that Cyber Monday passed $1.5 billion for the first time in 2012, up from $1.25 billion in 2011 according to comScore, Inc., a company that monitors internet traffic. Cyber Monday reached 1.25 billion in online spending, up 20 percent, representing the heaviest online spending day in history and third day on record to surpass the billion-dollar threshold.

Extra time to shop may also boost sales this year. The holiday retail season has 32 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, one of the longest seasons in terms of the number of spending days.

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, and comScore, Inc.



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