Washington — The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports a quarter of shoppers say the election will impact winter holiday spending plans, while 43 percent say they’ll be more cautious when making seasonal purchases. This backs up recent reports from Information Resources Inc. projecting restrained consumer spending this coming holiday season, largely driven by uncertainty around the presidential election.
“Everywhere you turn — whether you’re picking up a newspaper or watching television — political advertisements are taking up ad space that retailers typically use to get holiday shopping on the minds of consumers across the country,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Once the election has passed, we anticipate consumers will pull themselves out of the election doldrums and into the holiday spirit.”
However, shoppers will still be influenced by factors such as enticing sales and free shipping, as 87 percent report a willingness to spend an extra $25 this season when presented by those types of promotional activities, NRF reports.
While retailer holiday ads have yet to hit critical mass, almost half of consumers say they started seasonal shopping in October, 41 percent say they’ll start in November and 18 percent will begin in December. Concerning early shoppers, 63 percent do so to spread out their budget, while 49 percent hit stores early to avoid crowds and the stress of last-minute shopping, according to NRF.
The retail trade group is estimating the average consumer will spend $935.58 this holiday season, with about $207 earmarked for items such as food, decorations and greeting cards.