How Will Retail Perform This Holiday Season?

A new JLL survey predicts the main trends that will define holiday spending this year, when people may spend as much as 5 percent more than in 2017.

Shoppers are looking to spend serious bucks this holiday season, and though much buying will be online, department stores and discount stores continue to show considerable strength, according to JLL’s new 2018 Retail Holiday Survey.

Further, the company’s October survey of more than 1,000 shoppers suggests that mobile will play a bigger role than ever, and that despite the substantial sums that shoppers are forecast to spend, they’re also taking ample time to research their purchases ahead of time.

As to the most central number, JLL predicts holiday season spending growth of up to 5 percent over last year. 

Major predictions

Men will spend more than women. Nearly 45 percent of shoppers are expected to spend more than $500 this holiday season, with 30.6 percent of men, vs. 26.0 percent of women, spending more than $750.

Shopping will remain split between online and bricks-and-mortar. Not quite half of the shoppers will do most of their buying online, but department and discount stores remain highly popular.

Amazon, Walmart and Target are the most popular retailers. These are followed by Macy’s and Best Buy, then by—in no specific order—JC Penney, especially for lower-income shoppers, Kohl’s, for middle-income consumers, and Nordstrom, for seniors.

Shoppers plan to start and finish their shopping earlier this year. Overall, about 34 percent plan to start before Thanksgiving, and fewer than last year plan to wait till two weeks before Christmas to start. This all depends on income, however. While 37 percent of shoppers earning more than $75,000 will start before Thanksgiving, consumers making less than $25,000 will, on average, start somewhat later.

Nearly three-quarters of shoppers will do some research before buying. This is less true of older Boomers and seniors, however.

Mobile use for holiday shopping will explode this year,” according to the report. Half of those surveyed will make purchases via mobile this year, versus only 22 percent last year. Other mobile functions, such as hunting for deals, reading product reviews and checking store inventory, will also be popular.

Higher spenders are shopping proportionately more online, while those with less to spend are more likely to go the brick-and-mortar route, especially to discount chains such as HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx.