The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has released its 2023 Holiday Shopping Forecast, predicting a 3.8% increase in retail sales during the October-December period, despite the prevailing economic conditions.
he Annual Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey conducted by ICSC reveals that 90% of consumers, approximately 235 million, plan to shop this year.
Consumer Spending Trends
Consistent Spending Amid Economic Challenges
Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC, stated, “We expect a positive holiday shopping season this year as consumers continue to spend in spite of economic headwinds.” The survey indicates that 80% of shoppers expect to spend the same or more than they did last year, a slight increase from 73% in 2022. This suggests a level of resilience among consumers despite economic pressures such as inflation and higher interest rates.
Factors Influencing Spending
42% of consumers attribute their expected increase in spending to inflation and higher costs of holiday items. Conversely, 54% plan to spend less for the same reason. 38% of consumers expect to spend more, seeking value in holiday deals and promotions.
Shopping Preferences and Habits
Brick-and-Mortar vs. Online Shopping
The survey reveals that 87% of consumers, approximately 204 million people, are expected to shop at brick-and-mortar stores, while 75% plan to make online purchases. The expected spending is almost evenly split between online and in-person shopping, with 41% of the total expenditure expected at physical stores, 42% online, and 17% via click-and-collect services.
Payment Methods and Popular Categories
Most consumers plan to pay with debit (63%) or credit cards (50%), with 48% expecting to pay with cash. Gift cards, apparel and footwear, and toys and games are the most popular categories for purchases.
Implications for US Jewellers
Strategic Planning for the Holiday Season
The forecast suggests that US jewellers should prepare for a busy holiday season. With consumers starting their shopping earlier, jewellers can benefit by rolling out promotions and deals ahead of time. McGee emphasized the importance of capturing consumer interest throughout the season and offering seamless omnichannel experiences.
Adapting to Consumer Preferences
The data indicates a near-equal preference for online and in-store shopping. Thus, jewellers should ensure a strong online presence and efficient in-store experiences. The popularity of gift cards also presents an opportunity for jewellers to offer a variety of options to cater to this demand.
The ICSC’s 2023 Holiday Shopping Forecast provides valuable insights for US jewellers to strategically plan for the upcoming holiday season. By understanding consumer preferences and adapting to the economic climate, jewellers can position themselves to maximize sales and provide a satisfying shopping experience for consumers.