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Nielsen: Holiday Gain Should be Solid

SCHAUMBURG, ILL. - Nielsen is forecasting a 2.3% increase in holiday spending across five key departments: food, beverages, alcohol, health/beauty and homecare.
     Even though 59% of consumers told Nielsen they plan to spend the same as last year, there is a 10-point drop (from 37% in 2011 to 27% in 2012) in the number of people expecting to spend less. Eight percent of respondents reported plans to spend more this holiday season, up from 5% in 2011 and 2010.
     "With nearly a quarter of consumers indicating they have already started their holiday shopping by mid-September, I expect ‘pragmatic enthusiasm' to inch spending levels higher than last year," said James Russo, vp, global consumer insights, Nielsen.
      Nielsen's Consumer Confidence Index is the highest since before the recession, he added.
    "Planned shopping-list usage is down so impulse buying could be up, and shoppers across the income spectrum say they plan to spend more in multiple areas," said Russo.
     Once again, ecommerce is poised to be the channel with the highest rate of growth, with 18% of Nielsen respondents saying they will spend more online this year. Consumers saying they'll spend more at mass merchandisers doubled this year to 12% in 2012, from 6% in 2011 and 2010.
     With gift spending estimates in the range of $250 to $500, Nielsen is forecasting spending in the five key categories for November and December to reach $98.3 billion. Nielsen expects dollar sales to increase 2.3% and unit sales to remain generally flat (0.1%).
     Earlier this month, The National Retail Federation projected a 4.1% increase in year-over-year spending, which includes all categories of retail goods.

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