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NRF: Online, department stores, discounters most popular for holiday shopping

Holiday shoppers plan to spread their shopping across multiple channels and types of stores.

That’s according to the annual survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics in which 56% said they will shop online. Fifty-three percent of shoppers will also shop in department stores and 51% will go to discount stores. Forty-four percent will go to grocery stores, 34% to clothing and accessory stores and 23% each to electronics stores and local small businesses.

Consumers say they will spend an average of $1,047.83 this holiday season, up 4% from the $1,007.24 they said they would spend last year. Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most at $1,158.63.

“Younger consumers are helping drive the spending increase this year,” Prosper Insights executive VP of strategy Phil Rist said. “They’re not just spending on their immediate family members, they’re also treating their larger circle of co-workers and friends to gifts.”

The consumer survey comes on top of NRF’s annual holiday spending forecast, which takes into account a variety of economic factors to project overall spending rather than per-consumer spending. The forecast estimated that holiday retail sales in November and December will be up between 3.8% and 4.2% over 2018, for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.

Consumers will spend in three main categories during the holidays: gifts for family, friends and co-workers, at an average $658.55; non-gift holiday items such as candy and food, decorations, greeting cards and flowers at $227.26; and other non-gift purchases that take advantage of the deals and promotions throughout the season at $162.02.

In other survey highlights:
* Similar to previous years, 39% of holiday shoppers said they would start buying holiday items before November, while 43% are waiting until at least November and 18 percent are waiting until December.

* Sales and discounts remain the largest factor in choosing a particular retailer during the holidays, cited by 70%. Quality merchandise was the next-largest factor (cited by 59%), followed by selection of merchandise (57%), free shipping and shipping promotions (46%) and convenient location (44%).

* For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59% of those surveyed, followed by clothing and accessories at 52%, books/movies/music/video games (35%), electronics (29%), home décor (24%), jewelry (23%), personal care or beauty items (21%), sporting goods (18%) and home improvement items (17%).

* Among online shoppers, 92% plan to take advantage of free shipping and 48% will use buy online, pick-up in store or ship to store services. Sixteen percent plan to use same-day delivery, which has doubled since 2015. The youngest online shoppers (ages 18 to 24) are the most likely to say they plan to use same-day delivery, at 32%.

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