Discounters Top Holiday Shopping Channels in NPD Survey

NPD GroupPORT WASHINGTON, N.Y.-Fifty-two percent of consumers plan to shop for holiday merchandise at discounters this coming season, more than at any other channel, according to The NPD Group’s Annual Holiday Spending Survey.

That ratio is up from 50 percent in last year’s survey. Finishing second on this list were online retailers at 43 percent, up from 38 percent last year. National chains came in third at 29 percent, up from 28 percent last year, while 22 percent of consumers intend to shop at department stores, down from 23 percent last year.

In addition, two-thirds of consumers plan to spend about the same on holiday products as they did last year, the same percentage as in the 2012 holidays. Twelve percent plan to spend more, up from 10 percent last year. Twenty-one percent said they plan to spend less, compared to 23 percent last year.

In terms of what will drive purchases, 57 percent said a special sale price would spur them to buy, up from 56 percent last year. Fifty-six percent said the overall value for the price would drive their purchase, up from 54 percent in the 2012 survey. Forty-two percent mentioned free shipping, up from 39 percent.

Regarding products consumers plan to shop for, housewares finished eighth on the list. Nine percent of consumers said they would shop for housewares during this holiday season, up from 8 percent last year.

“Consumers are feeling better about the economy compared to last year, and they plan to take advantage of sales during key periods,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. “But this year’s holiday will be a tricky one for retailers. With fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, government distractions and lack of newness in the marketplace, retailers will have to rely more on promotions to excite the consumer.”