Consumers Projected to Spend More, Shop Early for Winter Holidays

With the winter holiday retail season officially open, new data from Citi Research finds that 23% of survey respondents said they would spend “somewhat more” on winter holiday items than they did in 2020. That’s up from 17% of respondents who said they would spend more in last year’s survey.

The 2021 online survey of more than 2,500 U.S. consumers found that individual spending would increase about 5% to $537, from $510. About 4% of respondents said they would begin shopping earlier this year than they did last year.

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“This is a good sign for retailers, who would prefer seeing early shopping rather than shoppers come in for last minute deals in late December,” analysts Paul Lejuez and Steven Zaccone wrote in a note.

A previous report from the National Retail Federation found that this year’s holiday spending had the potential to shatter previous records, with sales during November and December projected to grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

The numbers, which excluded automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compared with a previous high of 8.2% in 2020 to $777.3 billion and an average increase of 4.4% over the past five years.