A.T. Kearney Study: Economic Resilience to Spike Consumer Spending this Holiday Season

The A.T. Kearney 2016 Holiday Shopping Survey found that 40 percent of U.S. consumers plan to spend more this year than during the 2015 holiday shopping season. Better job prospects, fueled by an improving economy, are giving consumers a reason to shop. The survey results show that 53 percent of consumers cite their income situation and employment status as the most important reasons why they plan to spend more this year. Nineteen percent of consumers in the survey cited the economy as the most important reason for increasing their spending.

The A.T. Kearney 2016 Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted online from October 24 – 25, 2016 and included 1,500 responses from individual U.S. consumers.

Joel Alden, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study stated, “Our survey showed that 27 percent of shoppers are Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers (up from 15 percent in 2015). Nearly half of these shoppers love these days for the deals.  For the rest, tradition and the festive environment keeps them coming back every year.  With such high traffic, it is critical for retailers to deliver a great experience, compelling promotions and strong product availability — in-store and on-line.”

While the lion’s share of purchase volume still flows through stores, online is quickly gaining in importance in consumers’ hearts and minds. Of the consumers responding to the survey, forty percent consider online their most important channel this holiday season compared to 53 percent for in-store.

The survey found that consumers’ willingness to take advantage of personalized mobile offers is reaching critical mass with 61 percent of consumers saying that they are likely to use personalized mobile offers at their favorite retailers, versus 50 percent in 2015.

Although a minority of consumers plan to sign up for mobile payment apps (44 percent versus 35 percent in 2015), usage is quickly gaining traction and will be a requirement for retailers in 2017.

Alden also noted, “Our study was conducted before the U.S. Presidential Election. Responding to a question in the survey, 41 percent of consumers planned to adjust their level of holiday spending based on the outcome of the election. Interestingly, for every consumer that planned to spend less (18 percent) should Donald Trump win, there was close to an equivalent number that planned to spend more (14 percent).” 

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