9 Things to Know About Holiday Shoppers for the 2017 Season

The more you know about your shoppers this holiday season, the better you can sell to them.
two women holiday shopping
If you want to bring in the big bucks this holiday season, you need to know as much as you can about the market. (Photo: kurhan/Shutterstock)

As Christmas draws near, small business owners are preparing for an influx of customers buying gifts for family and friends.

If you want to bring in the big bucks this season, it’s important for you to know as much as you can about the market. To make it easier on you, NCR Silver collected some of the top stats and trends affecting shoppers this holiday.

Consumers plan to spend more money this holiday season

Across the board, forecasts are looking positive for consumer spending during the final quarter of 2017. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates holiday shoppers will spend an average of $967.13 this year — an increase of 3.4 percent from what consumers anticipated spending during the 2016 holiday season.

Overall, the NRF expects holiday retail sales in November and December to go up between 3.6 and 4 percent this year, coming in at around $680 billion for the season.

Holiday shopping is a year-round activity

While in the past holiday shopping has been a seasonal activity, more people aren’t waiting until November to do their gift buying. According to Accenture’s 11th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers say they shop for holiday gifts year-round. In fact, 44 percent felt they are opting out of Black Friday deals this year because they can get equally good discounts on other days of the year.

Shoppers want more gift ideas from retailers

The Accenture survey also indicated that 64 percent of shoppers are wanting retailers to help them with gift ideas for holidays and special occasions. More than half (54 percent) of consumers also said that online wish lists would improve their holiday shopping experience.

Gift cards are still on top

gift card

According to the National Retail Federation, 61 percent of consumers have gift cards on their holiday wish list. (Photo: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock)

For the eleventh year in a row, the NRF reports gift cards as the most requested gifts on holiday wish lists — asked for by 61 percent of those surveyed.

Accenture’s survey showed similar results, with 71 percent of respondents planning to buy gift cards this holiday season. The average spending for each gift card is estimated to be around $40.

Related: Why and How to Offer Gift Cards

Online is the most popular shopping destination this year

According to the NRF Holiday Spending Survey, 59 percent of consumers plan to do their holiday shopping online this year. This is the first time in the survey’s history that online shopping has outweighed other popular destinations, such as department stores (57 percent), clothing or accessory retailers (46 percent) and local small businesses (25 percent).

Free delivery over fast delivery

With more consumers doing their shopping online this year, delivery options are also getting more consideration. Respondents to the Accenture survey were more than 10 times as likely to be willing to wait longer for their items in order to take advantage of free shipping (53 percent) than to pay extra for express or on-demand delivery (5 percent).

Results were similar for the NRF survey, with the vast majority of online shoppers planning to take advantage of free shipping (94 percent) and other convenience-based options like buying online with in-store pickup (49 percent).

Consumers are doing their homework

Pre-shopping, by means of “webrooming” and “showrooming,” continue to rise. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of Accenture survey respondents plan to “webroom,” or research products online before purchasing them in a store. Similarly, 79 percent of shoppers plan to scope out products in brick-and-mortar stores before buying from an online retailer.


A growing number of consumers are changing the types of gifts they plan to give this year, deferring to experiences over material goods. (Photo: Poznyakov/Shutterstock)

Related: Webrooming vs. Showrooming: How Consumers are Pre-Shopping

Giving the gift of experiences

A growing number of consumers are also changing the types of gifts they plan to give this year, deferring to experiences over material goods. According to Accenture, more than a third of holiday shoppers have experiential gifts on their lists, such as dining out, outdoor adventures, travel, concert tickets, spa treatments and more.

Local search is up — especially among last-minute shoppers

According to data from Google, as Christmas and other gift-giving holidays get closer, the number of searches using the phrase “Where to buy” goes up — peaking December 18 through 23. Over the past two years, mobile searches with queries like “where to buy NES classic,” “where to buy ugly Christmas sweater” and “where to buy gift boxes” have gone up by 85 percent.

Additionally, searches for “store hours” also increase as the holiday nears, peaking on Christmas Day. This indicates that a number of shoppers are still on the hunt for last-minute items and final dinner ingredients.

Related: To Close Or Not To Close? The Holiday Question for Small Business Owners


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