Michael Dwyer, Associated Press
’Tis the season for the holiday shopping press release. Various prognosticators are telling what they think will happen this Christmas shopping season.
For example, Internet Retailer says e-commerce is looking good this year: "E-commerce spending in the United States will increase about 15.1 percent year over year in November and December — prime holiday shopping time — says eMarketer in a projection released today. Spending during those two months will total $61.8 billion, up from $53.7 billion in 2012."
Deloitte's annual Holiday Survey says more consumers will shop with their mobile devices: "Among smartphone owners, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) plan to use their devices for holiday shopping. These consumers will primarily use smartphones to search for store locations (56 percent), check and compare prices (54 percent) and obtain product information (47 percent).
"Consumers that use smartphones to assist in holiday shopping will likely help retailers' registers jingle this year, as these shoppers plan to spend 27 percent more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners.
"The survey also found a significant number of consumers expecting to shop using their tablets. Among the 38 percent of respondents that own tablets, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of these owners indicate they plan to use it for holiday shopping this year, with 'shop or browse online' ranking as the No. 1 activity."
Deloitte also found that people will shop locally: "This year, two-thirds (66 percent) of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops which are not part of national chains.
"The survey indicates that one-third (34 percent) of consumers' budgets will be spent at local stores. Among the reasons for shopping locally, consumers cite desire to support the local economy (60 percent), to find one-of-a-kind gifts (53 percent) and because it is more convenient (44 percent). Nearly one-third (30 percent) report having greater loyalty for the local store over national chains."
Financial services firm Edward Jones says Americans are cautious about holiday spending this year: "Thirty-seven percent say they plan to spend less on holiday shopping in 2013 than they spent in 2012, contrary to what Edward Jones' retail analyst is anticipating: holiday sales to increase by about 2.8 percent."
Edward Jones says 79 percent of Americans plan on buying holiday gifts this year. Sixteen percent say they won't. Of those who are buying gifts, "24 percent have already started to tackle their lists. Less than half (43 percent) plan to conduct their shopping before Thanksgiving, about one-quarter (26 percent) plan to take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, and one-third (32 percent) say they will wait until December to get started."
The holidays also send people over the river and through the woods, according to Hotwire: "American adults will spend a total of $72 billion on obligatory holiday season travel in the past year ($14 billion on Thanksgiving travel and $58 billion on Christmas travel)."
Like the Deloitte report, Burst Media's Online Insights study proclaims "this is the year for mobile": "(N)early one-half of consumers will use a smartphone to shop this year. That figure is up 51 percent from our 2012 study. Two-fifths will use a tablet for holiday shopping — a 190 percent increase over last year!"
Not surprisingly, UPS expects things to pick up during the Christmas season: "With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, UPS expects to pick up over 34 million packages globally on its peak day, December 16. There are 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer than last year, making it the most compressed holiday season since 2002. Overall, UPS expects peak season daily volume to increase by 8 percent this year."
The expected hot shipping days, according to UPS, will be:
Cyber Monday, Dec. 2 — "Pick-up volume will eclipse 32 million, an increase of 10 percent."
Monday, Dec. 16 — "Peak pick-up day with over 34 million packages."
Tuesday, Dec. 17 — "Peak delivery day with over 29 million packages."
GoBankingRates.com, however, throws a little water on the enthusiasm: "(M)ore than 40 percent (40.3 percent) said they did not plan to buy gifts at all this year. The second most common response was 'Less than $500.' (37.4 percent)"
Another survey by GoBankingRates.com asked about saving: "A whopping 63.1 percent admitted they had not allocated any savings toward a holiday gift shopping budget."