2015 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, 151 million shoppers were out shopping in the stores or online on the kickoff holiday weekend, more than the expected 136 million. Midwest consumers, which includes Missouri averaged $292.80 a shopper, slightly lower than the national average of $299.60. According to ComScore the Holiday Season's spending online already was up 5% higher after Black Friday weekend with $70 billion in online sales.

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 3.7 percent in holiday sales to $630.5 billion. The Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey forecasts an increase of 3.5 to 4.0 percent while the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) forecasts a 3.3 percent increase. ComScore Inc. is forecasting a happy holiday sales season for U.S. web retailers with a prediction of an increase of 14% this holiday online shopping season.

NRF’s Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey reported that consumers plan to spend a total of $805.65 nationwide, with Midwesterners averaging $793.47.

2015 National Retail Federation
Projected Midwest Holiday Spending

2013 Midwest Holiday Spending Chart

Deloitte’s survey shows that three-fourths of shoppers surveyed plan to spend more than 2014 which is the highest percentage increase since 2000. Over half of purchases will be influenced by online research, up 8% from 2014. One-third of shoppers believe store should have online presence and a physical store and nearly three-fourths plan to ship for free. Deloitte's survey shows that only 23% of shoppers shop earlier than December, down from 25% in 2014.

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 (73.5%) indicated that the decision to shop at a particular store would be determined by price or discounts, followed by selection of merchandise (61.4%), quality of merchandise (59.4%), free shipping/promotions (45.4%), convenient location (44.4%) and every-day low prices (40.9%). Other consumers rated no hassle return policy (35.8%) and easy to use website or mobile device site (27.7%) as most important.

This year’s in-demand holiday items include classic toys such as LEGO, Barbie, Hot Wheels and Cars and Trucks. In top toys for girls, Barbie took the coveted number one spot back from Disney Frozen. Other in-demand items are XBox One, Playstation 4, Shopkins, Monster High Dolls, American Girl Dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Marvel Action figures.

2015 Top Toys for Boys   2015 Top Toys for Girls
1. LEGO   1. Barbie
2. Star Wars   2. Disney Frozen
3. Cars and Trucks   3. Dolls
4. Video Games   4. Monster High Dolls
5. Hot Wheels   5.  American Girl
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles   6. My Little Pony
7. XBox One   7. Shopkins
8. Playstation 4   8. LEGO
9. Nerf   9.Disney Princess
10. Marvel Action Figure   10. Star Wars

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, covers Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projected Sunday Sales, reported that consumers nationwide spent an average of $299.60. Midwest consumers spent an average of $292.80 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 afternoon. Of those shopping over the weekend, almost three-fourths were out on Black Friday (72.8%) while Thanksgiving day had a little over one-third (34%) of shoppers venturing out.

2015 Top Midwest
Black Friday
Gifts Purchased

2015 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 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, and comScore, INC.,, cNBC and


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