Nielsen Predicts 1.9% Rise In Holiday Spending

As consumer confidence keeps rising, Nielsen is predicting a 1.9% increase in holiday spending in the U.S., with African-American, Hispanic and Asian consumers among those most likely to be upping their holiday budgets.

The forecast -- based on 25,000 households and including spending on such items as food and beverages, as well as gifts -- says 10% of those celebrating the season intend to spend more than they did last year. But multicultural households are much more likely to say they will spend more on holiday gifts, including 17% of African-Americans and 13% of both Hispanic and Asian shoppers.

Across all groups and demographic levels, people say they intend to do more shopping online and in mass channels than they did last year. Gift cards continue to reign as the most popular gift item, with 12% of the survey expecting to spend more.



Nielsen also says that more than a quarter of consumers have already commenced their holiday shopping, with women and young families leading the charge. (Men, multicultural families and Millennials are less inclined to shop early this year.)

Household income makes a big difference in predicted spending. Overall, 32% of those in Nielsen’s sample say they expect to spend between $250 and $500. But while 41% of those with household incomes of over $50,000 intend to spend more than $500, just 16% of those earning less than $50,000 do. 

Consumer confidence is fueling these increases, it says. Nielsen’s global consumer confidence index climbed to 98 this quarter, registering gains in 65% of all markets.

It also makes the third straight quarter that the index has passed its pre-recession levels of 94. North America scored the biggest gains of all regions, with the index climbing four points to 107. The major change? A dramatic jump in people’s expectations about job prospects, with that sentiment in rising nine percentage points in North America in 12 months.

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