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Monday, November 27, 2017

Holiday spending on track for growth

In the recently released 2017 Holiday Spending Report Card, which tracks same store year-over-year sales from over 3.5 million card accepting U.S. merchants, projected growth in holiday spending will be driven by strength in the Northeast region and increased spending nationally at hotels, restaurants, shoe stores and building material stores.

"Low unemployment, coupled with consumer confidence near a 17-year high, is bolstering an already healthy economy," said Jared Drieling, Director of Business Intelligence of The Strawhecker Group. "Coming into this holiday season, shoppers have seen an increase in personal income – especially disposable income – which is helping build off of a 2016 holiday season that was one of the best in years."

Experiential versus tangible

As further evidence of a nationwide trend toward spending on experiences over tangible goods, the ETA-TSG holiday analysis predicted non-traditional leisure retailers will score big this holiday season. Restaurants and hotels received high marks across all regions. A boost in home improvement spending also indicated consumers are willing to open their wallets.

"Shoppers are coming to stores willing to spend this holiday season," said Jason Oxman, Chief Executive Officer of ETA. "Two of the big trends for 2017 holiday spending are the rise of experiences and an earlier start to the holiday shopping season. Holiday shoppers aren't spending only at traditional retailers, but are spending more on restaurants and hotels. The 2017 holiday season inches earlier into the year as big box retailers start 'Black Friday' deals as early as November 1."

A joint effort between the Electronic Transactions Association and The Strawhecker Group, report data in recent years points to an earlier jump on holiday shopping in response to pre-Thanksgiving retail campaigns. Spending growth in November, at 3.9 percent, is expected to eclipse year-over-year growth for the months of October and December, at 2.9 percent and 3.2 percent respectively.

General merchandise big-box retail stores are also expected to gain market share at the expense of vertical retailers, including sporting goods and jewelry stores, which are on track to experience sales declines year-over-year, noted ETA-TSG in the report. The convenience of one-stop shopping at big-box retailers was the primary reason cited for this shift in consumer spending at brick-and-mortar locations. end of article

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