Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nielsen Holiday Forecast: Consumers Fiscally ‘Cautious’

The end-of-year holiday shopping season seems to start earlier and earlier each year, as retailers are already rolling out their holiday promotions, according to Nielsen.

 And those efforts appear to be working, as nearly one quarter (22%) of U.S. consumers report that they’ve already started their holiday shopping, according to the Nielsen’s 2013 Holiday Spending Forecast. Holiday shoppers can also be notorious procrastinators, as 60 percent say they will wait a bit before they start their shopping.

So what does this mean for U.S. retail sales this year? According to James Russo, SVP Global Consumer Insights at Nielsen, this holiday shopping season will be marginally stronger than last year, with dollar sales rising just about 2 percent, buoyed by the strongest consumer sentiment in six years.

However, even with the increase in overall consumer sentiment, there are still plenty of people feeling the effects of the Great Recession. Twenty percent of consumers say they have no spare cash, and 68 percent say they still feel like they’re in a recession. With respect to spending ability, 48 percent say they’re living comfortably or spending freely, while 52 percent say they’re limited to spending on only the basics.

With the economy still on many American minds, dollar amount spending this holiday season appears consistent with last year, as 30 percent of consumers from all income ranges say they plan to drop between $250 and $500 this season. Twenty percent say they’ll spend between $500 and $1,000, while only 6 percent will open their wallets wide enough to spend more than $1,000.

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