MarketingProfs is featuring survey data for the U.S. holiday shopping season released by the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch. The research shows that overall holiday sales are expected to decline by one percent year-over-year to about $438 billion in 2009. This decline is the second in as many years, with 2008 and 2009 representing the only down forecasts by NRF since it began tracking retail sales in 1992.
Surveys of spending habits found consumers plan to spend less but shop early and look for discounts. About 84 percent said they will curtail their budgets for the holidays this year, with nearly two-thirds citing the state of the economy as the underlying factor. More than 43 percent cited sales and discounts as the most important factor in their purchase decisions. A strong majority, more than 70 percent, said they plan on shopping at discounters.
For product categories, the survey found declines in almost every category except gift cards. Gift cards are among the most popular items tracked annually by NRF, followed by entertainment media (books, DVDs, videogames), clothing and electronics. The report also says that retailers are preparing for a bumpy holidays by scaling back inventories. NRF predicts lower inventories could mean shortages on popular items, as retailers sell out but can’ restock in time for holiday shoppers.
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