Explore Holiday Trends: Consumers Shop Sooner, Spend More

Nov 30, 2021

DECA members champion retail opportunities because they know retail is an industry of opportunity where people can build great careers. And data from the National Retail Federation helps educators and students understand the effect of retail on the overall economy and explore fascinating consumer behavior and trends.

In a recent forecast, NRF says that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”

This year will look like a more traditional holiday experience. While ecommerce will still be key, households are likely to return to more in-store shopping, according to NRF.

The 2021 NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics October Consumer Holiday Survey says that consumers plan to spend nearly $1,000 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year.

“We’re expecting another record-breaking holiday season this year and Thanksgiving weekend will play a major role as it always has,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says. “Nonetheless, consumers are starting earlier than ever to be sure they can get what they want, when they want it, at a price they want to pay.”

Explore NRF’s interactive slideshow for data on spending and shopping plans this holiday season. Here are some of the key findings:

  • 90 percent of consumers plan to celebrate the winter holidays
  • 56 percent say they want to receive gift cards as a gift
  • LEGO and Barbie are the top toy gifts

NRF anticipates retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers – jobs that offer the chance to experience a variety of roles, develop skills that managers value across industries and explore exciting career paths.

Learn more about resources from the NRF Foundation – including its industry-recognized RISE Up training and credentials – that help people of all backgrounds build life-changing careers.


National Retail Federation Foundation

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.The NRF Foundation has partnered with DECA to expose students to unique educational and employment opportunities that highlight the exciting, diverse career paths within the retail industry.

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