Amid the challenge of the pandemic, many Americans have turned to self-gifting, a major boost for retailers that started their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals before Thanksgiving this year.
“People have been spending on themselves and their home all year long, in the sporting goods category, in the electronics category, cooking at home more,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay told Yahoo Finance. “Everything you did at work or out of the home before, you do in the home now. So a lot of that [holiday] spending’s been pulled forward.”
Americans have been spending money on their homes throughout the pandemic and lockdowns. Home Depot and Lowe’s have been big beneficiaries. Home Depot, for instance, reported a 24.6% increase in same-store sales in the third quarter compared to a year ago, while Lowe's same-store sales surged 30% during the same period. Home and kitchen goods chain Williams-Sonoma saw its e-commerce sales rise 49% year over year during its latest quarter.
Self-gifting will likely continue: A new Yahoo Finance-Harris Poll found that most Americans plan on splurging on gifts for themselves, with 48% of them saying they’ll spend $300 or less.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase 3.6% to 5.2% compared to last year to a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. (That’s compared with a 4% increase to $729.1 billion last year and an average holiday sales increase of 3.5% over the past five years.)
“Consumers have a lot of fire power,” said Shay. “They’ve got increased savings. They’ve still got money left over from paying down debt due to the direct payments they received from the federal government, unemployment benefits.”
While major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, they launched their Black Friday deals at the beginning of November, further blurring the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While sitting at home, Americans have already spent $58.9 billion online from Nov. 1 to Nov. 23, an unprecedented 32% year-over-year growth, according to new data by Adobe Analytics, with 39% of all those sales done on smartphones.
Some of the most sought after products this holiday season include video game consoles like PlayStation 5, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Lego sets, and hoverboards.
Brick-and-mortar stores – already reeling from broad coronavirus shutdowns earlier this year – may be losers this holiday season as 55% of Americans say they will shop online compared to the 31% who did so last year, according to the Yahoo Finance-Harris poll.
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