Predictions for Holiday Shopping 2011

The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8% during this month and December to $465.6 billion.

Armed with savvy shopping skills and a renewed focus on value, consumers this holiday season are shopping at a variety of locations and channels as they scope out ways to get the best bang for their buck. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch®, holiday shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year.

Nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families during the holiday season.

When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar. Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty or stellar customer service.”

-NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay

In addition, online retailers have plenty to be joyous about this holiday season as new research shows companies are adjusting their holiday plans based on expected growth and strong demand from holiday shoppers. According to’s eHoliday Survey, also conducted by BIGresearch, nearly seven in 10 retailers say they expect their company’s online sales to grow at least 15% or more compared to last holiday season. The survey is supported by new data from NRF, which found the average shopper plans to do about 36% of their holiday shopping online, up from 32.7% last year.

One of consumers’ most anticipated and favorite holiday promotions, free shipping offers will be hard to miss this holiday season as nine in 10 online retailers say they plan on offering the service at some point. Additionally, 56.3% say their budget for free shipping promotions specifically is somewhat or significantly higher than last year.

Online retailers are prepping by optimizing their sites, beginning their marketing and promotions early and planning plenty of free shipping promotions as they aim to provide value and convenience for their shoppers. They will also leverage their social media and mobile platforms for savvy shoppers on the go, knowing how important customer reviews and comparison shopping applications are to holiday shoppers.”

-Fiona Swerdlow, head of research,

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