Consumers plan to spend about $998 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year. That’s according to a new report from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Despite pandemic-induced supply chain disruption, this is on par with consumer spending last year though it’s still slightly below the pre-pandemic high of $1,047.83. The difference may be explained by the fact that fewer consumers intend on purchasing non-gift items for themselves and their families, according to the NRF.

This year, 90 percent of US adults intend on celebrating the upcoming holidays whereas only 87 percent celebrated in 2020. Forty-seven percent of holiday shoppers will be taking advantage of sales or discounts while shopping for non-gift items with a total average of $118.81. Pre-pandemic, 60 percent of shoppers expected to make these purchases with an average total of $162.02. As many continue to work remotely, shoppers are also less inclined to purchase gifts for coworkers, found the NRF.

Holiday shopping has started earlier this year than ever before as 49 percent of holiday shoppers will begin perusing and purchasing before November—seven percentage points higher than in 2020, according to the report.  The percent of shoppers who have started shopping before November ranged from 39 percent to 41 percent between 2011 and 2019. 

To avoid the stress of procrastinating this year, 47 percent of consumers said they’ll be shopping in October or earlier while 36 percent plan to do so in order to obtain key holiday items before they’re unavailable. According to Nikki Baird, vice president of retail innovation at Aptos, while there will be a lot of online demand, there’s a hard, upper limit to that demand. 

“The same capacity constraints on shipping still exist for consumer packages too, which means cutoff days for non-expedited shipping may come earlier, as well as the cutoff even for expedited shipping with a guaranteed delivery date,” Baird noted.

Supply chain hurdles sparked by the pandemic have impacted holiday shopper behavior as 47 percent are concerned about locating products such as electronics (44 percent), clothes (40 percent) and toys (28 percent).

“There will be fewer choices. Retailers and brands are leaning heavily on safe bets, rather than anything that is more recent and may not have had as much visibility or awareness. I did see a few Space Jam toys, but for example, a lot of the featured toys are dinosaur toys, but they’re generic toys, not Jurassic World branded (even though the franchise has a film release scheduled for June 2022),” said Baird.

Online shopping will remain most holiday shoppers’ preference. Last year saw 60 percent of shoppers identify online as a holiday shopping destination while only 57 percent identify it as such in 2021—consistent with pre-pandemic levels. 

Other destinations include department stores (47 percent), discount stores (44 percent), grocery stores (43 percent) and clothing and accessories stores (30 percent). Twenty-four percent of survey respondents will patronize local or small businesses.

These findings are based on a survey the NRF conducted among 7,921 consumers from October 1-10.