Holiday spending up by 16 percent, beating forecast, ICSC reports

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Publish Date: January 05, 2017

Holiday spending rose by 16 percent over the 2015 season, beating predictions by 4 percent, according to a consumer survey conducted on behalf of ICSC Research. Consumers spent on average $711 each for gifts and other holiday-related items, up from an average of $611 each last year.

“Consumer confidence continued to improve into December, and we saw this optimism reflected in the holiday spending numbers,” said Tom McGee, ICSC’s president and CEO. “The strong holiday shopping season suggests a positive environment for retail sales overall.”

In total, consumers spent an average of $897 each on gifts plus dining, movies and other entertainment experiences in shopping centers between Nov. 1 and Christmas Day. The biggest spenders were GenX-ers, who spent an average of $1,000 each, followed by boomers ($875) and Millennials ($867).

Nearly half of total consumer expenditures (46.6 percent) took place in physical stores, and an additional 22.6 percent was spent through the online platforms of those retailers — with 12.4 percent spent on items shipped to consumers’ homes, and 10.2 percent on merchandise picked up at the store. Amazon.com received 20.6 percent of the expenditures.

In another positive omen for brick-and-mortar retail, 67 percent of adults buying online said it is important that the retailer also have a physical presence. This is particularly critical to Millennials, 77 percent of whom said it is very important or somewhat important to them, versus 68 percent for Generation X and 59 percent for boomers. Only a third of U.S. adults said they consider it unimportant whether their online purchases come from a physical retailer.

Asked which types of stores they patronized, 65 percent of respondents said they bought gifts and other holiday-related items at discount or dollar stores, 45 percent said they used traditional department stores, and 24 percent went to electronics stores.

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