50 Holiday Shopping Statistics and Trends

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year for consumers and retailers alike. During the last few months of the year, shoppers surge into shopping malls, small businesses, and online stores to purchase gifts for their winter celebrations.

However, competition can be stiff during this time of year, with almost every retailer vying to maximize their revenue. As a result, retailers that understand the motivations and purchasing habits of their shoppers stand to reap the most profit. Let’s take a look at key statistics and trends that retailers should leverage during this holiday season.

The Most Popular Holiday Shopping Dates

  • 39 percent of holiday shoppers begin purchasing before November, while 43 percent begin shopping in November
  • 28 percent of consumers are likely to shop on Thanksgiving Day
  • 55 percent of customers plan to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday
  • In 2013, Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and December 26th were the busiest days for shopping-related mobile search queries
  • 56 percent of people who shop around Thanksgiving believe that Black Friday has the best deals of the season

holiday shopper purchasing trends

Consumer Holiday Shopping Habits

  • Consumers are predicted to spend about $1,047.83 each in the 2019 holiday season – up 4 percent from the $1,007.24 they intended to spend last year.
  • Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 are predicted to spend $1,158.63 in 2019 – the most out of any other age group.
  • Almost 25 percent of all personal spending in the U.S. takes place during the holidays.
  • 61 percent of adults will purchase clothing and accessories.
  • According to the NRF, the most popular item on wish lists is a gift card, with 59 percent wanting store credit. As well:
    • 52 percent of people surveyed wanted clothing or accessories
    • 35 percent want books, music, movies, or video games.
    • 29 percent want electronics
    • 24 percent want home décor
    • 23 percent want jewelry
    • 21 percent want beauty or personal care items
    • 18 percent would like sporting goods
  • 44 percent of shoppers will buy some form of media – like games, videos, books, and music.
  • Shoppers are predicted to spend an average of $658.55 on holiday gifts for their family, friends and coworkers, $227.26 on holiday related items like candy, food, decorations, and $160.02 on unrelated products during holiday shopping trips in 2019.
  • 52 percent of shoppers between the ages of 25 and 34 plan to purchase gifts for coworkers.
  • 82 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 plan to purchase gifts for their friends.
  • Consumers will spend over $5 million on Christmas gifts for their pets.
  • The average holiday shopper will spend over $100 on themselves.
  • The average shopper purchased 16 gifts in 2018.

Holiday Retail Statistics

  • While holiday shoppers are mostly loyal to retailers they shop from, up to 75 percent of shoppers are willing to try other retailers if given the right incentives
  • Besides discounts and promotions, shoppers are primarily influenced by quality merchandise (59 percent), selection of merchandise (57 percent), free shipping and shipping promotions (46 percent), and convenient location (44 percent)
  • In 2019, total holiday retail sales in November are expected to reach $727.9 billion, while December is expected to reach $730.7 billion.
  • The holiday season accounts for anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of a retailer’s total sales for the year.
  • Total holiday retail sales breached $1 trillion for the first time in 2018.

Where Customers Shop

  • According to the NRF, the majority of customers (53 percent) plan to shop in department stores. Other customers plan to shop at the following locations:
    • 51 percent of customers will do their holiday shopping at discount stores
    • 44 percent will buy holiday-related items at a grocery stores
    • 34 percent will visit clothing and accessory stores
    • 23 percent will shop at electronics stores.
  • For a small or mid-sized business, 20 to 40 percent of sales occur in the last two months of the year.
  • In 2012, about 25 percent of consumers purchased gifts from a store they had never shopped with before.
  • 89 percent of customers shop instore during the holiday season. For those who shop in-store
    • 82 percent of these customers do so because of the deals.
  • Brick and mortar stores are projected to represent 90 percent of holiday retail sales in the United States.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Statistics

  • 18 percent of customers wait until December to begin holiday shopping
  • 61 percent of holiday shoppers buy their last gift in the week leading up to Christmas.
  • 56 percent of holiday shoppers (that’s 134 million people!) are planning to shop on the last Saturday before Christmas (Super Saturday)
  • When surveying customers that had completed less than half their shopping by Super Saturday, 44 percent said they were still determining what to buy.
    • Of that 44 percent, 27 percent were waiting for family members to share requests, while 26 percent cited financial reasons. 25 percent were too busy with other activities – and 22 percent outright admitted to procrastinating.
  • 40 percent of holiday shoppers expect to finish their gift shopping by Super Saturday.
  • 50 percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of after-Christmas sales in stores, and 45 percent plan to do the same online.
  • 51 percent of shoppers say they will shop between Dec 26 and Jan 1. 27 percent will use the gift cards they got on Christmas

Holiday Marketing Statistics

  • 49 percent of marketers launch a holiday marketing campaign before Halloween
  • 55 percent of brands will use email as their top holiday marketing channel.
  • 67.2 percent of holiday shoppers are most likely to share holiday content that contained digital coupons.
    • 6.4 percent of consumers are most likely to share a link to a holiday-themed contest or giveaway.
  • 65 percent of people’s holiday purchases are influenced by sales and promotions.

Online Holiday Shopping Statistics

  • 66 percent of Black Friday purchases were the result of a social media interaction
  • American consumers spent $5.9 billion shopping online during Black Friday 2018.
  • 47.7 percent of shoppers say Pinterest inspired their gift purchases.
  • 76 percent of mobile holiday shoppers choose to shop from a different store after researching online.
  • 23 percent of shoppers plan to leverage social media while holiday shopping.
  • The biggest driver of holiday sales is direct website traffic (25.3 percent), followed by paid search (25.1 percent), then email (24 percent).
  • During the 2018 holiday season, 54 percent of shoppers bought gifts both online and in-store.
  • Mobile devices are expected to influence 87 percent of all holiday purchases.
  • 92 percent of online shoppers plan to shop from retailers with free shipping, 48 percent will buy online then pick-up in store, and 16 percent plan to use same-day delivery.
  • 65 percent of shoppers use social media to inform their gift purchases.
  • 56 percent of customers will shop online.
  • 65 percent of consumers plan to look at products online, but ultimately purchase instore.

Final Thoughts

The holiday season has a sizeable impact on businesses, and society as a whole. As time goes on, the specific shopping habits of customers may change – but the holidays will always provide a boon to retailers and other businesses. It’s never too early – or too late – to start planning for the holiday season.

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