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Online Spending to Surge in North America as the Holidays Approach
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Online Spending to Surge in North America as the Holidays Approach

While Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet, consumers across North America are already starting to see holiday decorations and gift ideas arrive on store shelves. Whether they’ve been infused with an early dose of the holiday spirit or trying to beat the throngs of holiday shoppers, 26% of consumers across North America said they had already started buying gifts for their loved ones in September.

So who’s already shopping? Millennials are leading the pack when it comes to holiday shopping, with 34% of Canadian and 27% of U.S. Millennials saying they’ve already started shopping. The majority of consumers across North America, however, say they plan to wait to start their holiday shopping. It’s interesting to note that in the U.S., Millennials lead the early shopping and has the most consumers who say they will wait to begin shopping.

As shoppers hit the stores, they’re also opening their wallets, which is likely music to the ears of manufacturers and retailers in a year when the FMCG market has seen slow growth. Shoppers on both sides of the border tend to have similar spending intentions this holiday season, with the majority of consumers in both countries planning to spend between $100-$1,000 (44% in Canada, 42% in the U.S.).

While retailers and manufacturers look forward to a prosperous shopping season, they should be prepared for overall consumer spending to decrease. In fact, Nielsen is forecasting that 18% of North American consumers are planning to spend less on holiday gifts this year than last year. But across both Canada and the U.S. the majority of consumers plan to spend about the same as they did in previous years—71% in Canada and 66% in the U.S. Only 6% of Canadian consumers plan to spend more, while that percentage jumps to 9% in the U.S.

Regardless of individual spending plans, consumers say they know where they plan to shop this year. Consumers north and south of the border say they plan their gift-giving purchases across traditional outlets, including department stores, mass merchandisers and grocery stores; however, consumers in both countries will be making their biggest increases in spending at online retailers. In fact, 66% of Canadian plan to purchase holiday gifts online this year, and 15% plan to spend more this year online.

On the other side of the border, online retailers will be the most popular destination for gift purchases during the 2017 holiday season, with a whopping 85% of U.S. consumers planning to shop online; and 20% of these consumer say they will spend more online than previous years. Across all other retail outlets types, growth is projected to be under 10%.

Regardless of which side of the border consumers call home, the holiday season is upon us—and even if they haven’t started shopping yet, they will be crowding your stores before you know it. Having the right assortment of products both online and in-store for budgets of all sizes will help ensure happy consumers throughout the holiday season.