Some 15% of US consumers plan to spend more this holiday season

Some 15% of US consumers plan to spend more this holiday season

US consumers have a more positive outlook going into the holiday season, new research suggests, with a higher percentage of people planning to spend more this year compared to last year. 

While the majority of consumers say they plan to maintain their level of holiday spending in 2015, 15% plan to spend more, up from 12% last year, according to The NPD Group's 2015 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey.  

At the same time, 16% plan on spending less this year, compared to 20% in 2014. This, the global information company says, shows the gap is narrowing between those who plan on spending less and those who plan on spending more – the closest these two groups have come in the past three years. 

In addition, the mean spend for holiday shopping this year is expected to reach $619 – a 5% increase from what consumers said they planned on doing at the same time in 2014.  

“Consumers are ready to spend for the holidays, more so than in recent years,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group. 

But, he warned, manufacturers and retailers need to pay close attention to what is driving the consumer mindset, and deliver product that anticipates inevitable shifts in their thinking. 

“Positive consumer perceptions combined with holiday promotions could drive early impulse purchases, but the market has to deliver enticing product that consumers want and need in order to build on that momentum and keep them spending,” explains Cohen. 

Assuming consumers will be spending less on gas/fuel than they were a year ago, more than half of respondents plan to save the additional money or spend it on themselves or others, as opposed to putting it towards bills and other expenses. 

Almost two-thirds of consumers say they will enlist pre-purchase research, NPD notes, as consumers want quick, easy-to-access information and real-life input on products from the people using them. 

“Just as the consumer mindset is one component to holiday success, the holiday season is one leg of the larger retail marathon – it’s not the finish line,” adds Cohen.

“Consumers are more complex, and marketers have more opportunities to reach them than ever before. Truly connecting with consumers requires interaction and omnipresence, emphasising a complete experience that extends beyond channels, beyond traditional methods, and beyond the holiday season.”