November 25, 2020
Heading into the Black Friday retail holiday weekend and consumer technology sales are already booming, according to new data from The NPD Group. The week ended Nov. 20 was the second-highest revenue sales week of the pandemic period — bested only by Amazon Prime Week (week ended Oct. 17). As expected, TV sales led the industry for the second straight week.
NPD said notebook PCs sales increased 32% through Nov. 20, followed by tablets (up 52%); routers (+80%); sound bars and mounts (+50%); and cell phone accessories (cases, protectors and mobile power), up 32%.
The research group contends year-over-year growth of 2.5% to 3.4% during the traditional holiday period of November and December, across general merchandise categories.
The group also claims year-over-year growth of 4.3% to 5.1% during the new holiday period, beginning in mid-October with early promotions, running through mid-January with gift card redemption, and spanning a broader view of NPD’s discretionary categories.
The NPD Group says consumers plan to spend an average of $691 during the 2020 holiday shopping season, which is less than last year’s anticipated holiday spending, but on par with 2018’s.
The hottest industries of 2020 — tech and home — will continue their momentum through the holidays with significant growth, but holiday staples will see stability compared to last year. Half of consumers plan to buy clothing/footwear/accessories as gifts this year.
Half of consumers plan to purchase intangible items/experiences as gifts for the upcoming holiday season — food subscriptions and streaming service subscriptions lead the list, and gift cards will be particularly popular.
Another 41% of consumers cited Black Friday/Thanksgiving Weekend/Cyber Monday as the period when they thought they would get the best deals of the season. About 80% of consumers plan to shop online, but shoppers still plan to make 42% of holiday purchases in a store.
For the first time, free shipping surpassed special sale price as the number one factor influencing where consumers decide to shop this holiday — cited by 41% of holiday shoppers. About 42% of holiday shoppers will be shipping most gifts because they won’t be seeing family and friends as a result of COVID-19 precautions.
Another 57% of shoppers rate the state of the economy poorly (up from 37% last year), and 30% say they will spend less because of the state of the economy (up from 23% in 2019), but consumer feelings about their personal financial situation has not changed since 2019.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt 40% of consumers to spend more on gifts to bring joy during challenging times; 31% of consumers say they will do more self-gifting as pandemic-related retail therapy.