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Press Release

ICSC Predicts Robust Holiday Retail Spending

October 4, 2018

Consumer spending to hit $807 billion this season, representing a 4.5 percent growth over prior year

NEW YORK, October 4, 2018: Consumers are hitting the stores again this holiday season, sustaining the ongoing “retail renaissance” and the convergence of digital and physical, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has found in its annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey. ICSC forecasts that shoppers will spend $807 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent over last year, with $685 billion being spent on gifts and other holiday items and $122 billion on food and beverage.

Malls and shopping centers will, once again, be bustling with consumers this holiday season. According to ICSC, 84 percent of shoppers will visit a mall or shopping center throughout the holidays, but the retailers who embrace omnichannel will benefit the greatest. Of the 40 percent of consumers who will use click-and-collect, 82 percent expect to spend additional money at that store or tenant, further bolstering retail sales. 

“Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey findings demonstrate that consumers remain confident in the economy,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers. “Shoppers want a combination of convenience and experience, and the retailers with the best omni-channel strategy are poised for success this holiday season.”

As the economy roars into the fourth quarter, consumer confidence has reached its highest level since October 2000, positioning shoppers to spend big this holiday season. According to the survey, the average consumer plans to spend $706.40 this holiday season, with $522.00 allotted for gifts. Overall, 92 percent of U.S. consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts and other holiday items this year. Over half (54 percent) plan to spend more this year than last year, with more than one quarter (28 percent) pointing to a change in job status or income as a factor in their increased spend.  

Approximately one in four are planning to buy big-ticket items like household appliances or jewelry; 40 percent are expected to buy electronics; 64 percent of consumers plan to buy gift cards; 52 percent plan to buy apparel and footwear; and 49 percent plan to buy toys and games. 

“The holidays are a time of tradition and community that makes the mall and the local shopping centers the perfect place to be during the holidays,” said McGee. “Retailers are evolving their offerings and presentation to tap into seasonal nostalgia, while still delivering an innovative and convenient experience.”

Promotions will be one of the biggest influences in purchasing at a physical location this year:

  • Overall, 74 percent of holiday shoppers say that promotions play a role in their holiday shopping. 
  • 63 percent plan their holiday shopping around specific promotional events/dates such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Super Saturday and/or other big sales.
  • 47 percent state that once they are in a store, the promotions they see influence the holiday purchases they make. 
  • 20 percent state they are more influenced by promotions on social media compared with other mediums.

The ICSC Holiday Intention Forecast Survey was conducted online by Engine Insights on behalf of ICSC from September 17 – 19, 2018. The survey is a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,002 adults 18 years of age and older.

The ICSC Holiday Forecast figure was derived using an exponential smoothing time series model based on not-seasonally adjusted monthly retail sales less the automotive sectors and non-store vendors. The forecast represents the combined November and December year-over-year increase in nominal terms. The constituent retail categories were calculated using the same technique.

About ICSC
ICSC serves the global retail real estate industry. We provide our 70,000+ member network in over 100 countries with invaluable resources, connections and industry insights, and actively work together to shape public policy. For more information about ICSC visit www.icsc.com.