The holidays are approaching, and for many, that means extra spending for gifts, parties, and travel. But how much does the average American spend over the holidays? According to a recently released survey by The National Retail Federation (NRF), it’s an average total of $1,007.24 per consumer on decorations, candies, gifts, and other holiday items for themselves and their families. If you look at the data year over year since 2017, it’s an increase of 4.3 to 4.8 percent that adds up to approximately $720.89 billion. And there’s more: Holiday spending is expected to continue increasing, as it has over the last five years.
What Do Consumers Buy When Holiday Shopping?
NRF data breaks down average holiday shopping numbers to look at the specifics of what exactly is expected to cost holiday shoppers the most money this year. Here are its projections:
- $638: gifts for family, friends, and coworkers
- $215: non-gift holiday purchases, such as food and decorations
- $155: other non-gift purchases for themselves and families
Another 2018 consumer holiday spending survey from Deloitte found that shoppers plan to buy an average of 16 gifts, with gift cards being the most popular item and the cost totaling $525. Another interesting note about shoppers is that two thirds say that they are willing to pay extra for sustainability, a trend that’s driven by younger shoppers.
Additionally, many consumers don’t always have a plan when it comes to their holiday shopping, as 49 percent of purchases are completely unplanned or while inspired inside of a store or shopping online.
Where Are Consumers Spending Their Money?
Deloitte’s recent survey also found that online purchases continue to dominate retail spending, with 57 percent of sales expected to come through online channels. Mobile device usage for shopping is growing, while other platforms —desktop, laptop, and tablet — are flattening out.
For most consumers, the top shopping destination will be online retailers (60 percent) while more than half are planning to visit mass merchants (52 percent).
How to Be A Smart Holiday Shopper
One of the best ways you can try to keep your spending manageable is to create and stick to a budget. Factor in some unexpected gifts in that budget, as you’re likely to have additional host gifts for that last-minute party or other unexpected costs you might not have considered upfront.
You can also look for special deals, incentives, and promotions, since many retailers are already starting early Black Friday 2018 and Cyber Monday 2018 deals as they continue to vie for your business with discounts. It’s the most wonderful time of the year — to shop!
The holiday season is a time to share with loved ones, but you also don’t want to let it put you into debt. Budgeting your expenses around the holidays and throughout the year is a great way to keep your finances healthy so you can tackle your financial goals, such as saving to buy a house or building an emergency fund.