NRF: Holiday Sales to Jump 4.1 Percent; Consumers Clamor for Gift Cards, Uneasy with Paying by Phone (Oct. 28, 2014)
Retail holiday spending in the U.S. is expected to jump 4.1 percent to $616.9 billion in 2014, marking the first increase of more than 4 percent since 2011. What’s more, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $804 on gifts, a nearly 5 percent increase from a year ago, and gift cards are the most requested item for the eighth consecutive year, according the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. Sixty-two percent of consumers surveyed prefer a gift card as a holiday present over clothing (52.5 percent); books, CDs, DVDs or video games (43.1 percent); or electronics (34.6 percent).
Although online sales also are expected to jump 8 to 11 percent, with many consumers relying on smartphones and tablets for researching and online shopping, the majority of consumers say they’re uncomfortable using a smartphone or tablet to pay for merchandise at the store checkout. This is the first year the NRF asked about in-store mobile payments and while 27.4 percent said they would be “somewhat” or “very comfortable” making purchases with a smart device, nearly 42 percent reported they’re “not very” or “not at all” comfortable paying for items that way.
Consumers are more comfortable using mobile devices for researching gifts and shopping online. Nearly two-thirds (63.2 percent) of tablet owners will use their device to research and purchase holiday items, which roughly is the same percentage as last holiday season. The survey also revealed that nearly 36 percent of consumers will use their smartphone to research products—the highest amount in the four years NRF has been asking—and nearly 24 percent will redeem coupons and 19.1 percent will purchase items online, which is another survey high, according to the NRF. Click here for the full survey.
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