Decking the halls with $730 billion in holiday shopping

Stock photo by Romrodinka /iSTock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Nearly every year since 2008, the amount of money that American consumers spend on holiday gifts has gone up over the previous year, and this year, some industry analysts expect consumers to fork over more than $1 trillion in holiday spending.

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In 2001, the average American planned to spend $1,057 – the highest ever – but following the market crash in 2008, that number dropped by more than half to about $400 in 2009. Since then, the money spent on holiday shopping has continued to climb in the wake of job creation and better wages.

In other words, “consumers feel more confident in their ability to spend,” according to market analysts at Investopedia.

In St. George, sales at Hurst Ace Hardware at 160 N. Bluff St. have been “good,” CFO Dale Nuckles told St. George News.

“They have been brisk, with a lot of last-minute shoppers,” he said, “and we’re very pleased with the season.”

With a shorter holiday season, Nuckles said, the store had to account for fewer shopping days, “but overall, it’s been a great season.”

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According to the National Retail Federation,  the average person planned to spend $1,048, and overall holiday spending was expected to reach nearly $729 billion this year, a massive leap from the amount spent even 20 years ago, and a forecast by the research firm eMarketer is even more cause for holiday celebration. They are forecasting $1 trillion spent in malls, big box retailers and online merchants this year.

With more than 230 million Americans celebrating the holidays shopping across the U.S., retail market analysts have found a number of trends that some may find surprising.

Who shops more, men or women?

Shopping is fairly equal across gender and age ranges, but spending amounts and other factors vary greatly, as a Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults taken in September revealed.

Consumer analysts have found that men tend to spend an average of $725 during the holiday, compared to women who spend about $605. Additionally, women are more likely than men to believe the U.S. economy is headed toward a recession, and female holiday shoppers are more likely to say they plan to spend less this year because of their perception of the economy.

Single shoppers are nearly twice as likely to make impulse purchases than their married counterparts.

Millenials, GenX and Baby Boomers

Similar to last year, Generation X, or “Gen Xers,” born from 1965 to 1982, are expected to spend the most on holiday gifts, with an average of more than $930 this year. Baby Boomers come in second with an average $860, while Millennials, born from about 1982 to 2004, come in at a close third with an average spending of nearly $830.

Who gets the goods?

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Kerkez/iSTock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Shoppers will spend seven times more on their family than they will on their coworkers, and more than $5 million will be spent on those furry, feathered or scaled family members.

More than 60% of adults will purchase clothing and accessories, more than half will will buy gift cards, a little more than a third will purchase electronics and another 20% will give cash.

The ghosts of Christmas past debt

Nearly 60% of shoppers incurred debt during the holidays last year, and more than a third of them are still paying that debt off, according to the Harris poll. That means 48 million Americans are still paying off credit card debt from the 2018 holiday season — up 10% from the previous year.

In spite of that fact, nearly two-thirds are using their credit cards this season as well.

Billions spent on Christmas trees 

Stock image by Pixabay, St. George News

There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. every year, and close to 350 million Christmas trees currently growing on dedicated tree farms in Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington, which is great considering it can take as many as 15 years to grow a 6-7-foot tree on average.

Nearly 33 million real Christmas trees were sold last year, versus 23 million fake trees.

Research reveals that Americans are spending about $5.6 billion on Christmas trees this year, up from last year.

Holiday retail random facts

  • On average, shoppers will spend another $100 on themselves, and nearly half of all gifts are purchased online.
  • Black Friday is no longer the busiest shopping day of the year. It has been replaced by the Saturday before Christmas, when 148 million Americans planned to shop. In fact, the federation also says more than 40% of all holiday purchases are made the last nine days leading up to Christmas.
  • Clothing purchases account for nearly half of all purchases this season, followed by toys and then gift cards, and about one-fifth of the purchases are being made using a cell phone.
  • The top toys this year is a Barbie for girls and LEGOS  for boys – which just goes to show some things don’t change very much.
  • Seven out of 10 people surveyed said they planned on participating in a charitable activity over the holidays.
  • UPS will deliver a whopping 630 million packages over the holiday season.
  • While the holiday may be a massive boon for retailers, they will lose more than $3 billion in return fraud with the highest rate being the return of stolen merchandise.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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