The holidays bring out shoppers like no other time of the year, and if you get a little overwhelmed by the commercial bonanza, you’re not alone. Here are 15 statistics about holiday shopping in the U.S. that might surprise you:
1. AMERICA IS GOING TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.
Holiday shopping sales are projected to hit $1 trillion in the U.S. Between $96 billion and $98 billion of those sales will be online.
2. THE AVERAGE PERSON SPENDS MORE THAN $1100.
On average, shoppers will spend around $1121 each on holiday gifts, according to one retail forecast. Millennials living in places like Brooklyn, Austin, and Portland are expected to spend more than most people—up to $500 more. However, those forecasted numbers vary, with a different source putting it at $935. Another survey estimates that shoppers will buy around 14 presents on average this year.
3. IT’S NOT ALL DONE ONLINE.
Despite predictions of booming online sales during the 2016 holiday season, people still enjoy brick-and-mortar stores, too. One of the aforementioned surveys found that 66 percent of respondents planned to research gifts online, but they will then head to the store to check it out in person and buy it.
4. IT HAPPENS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES.
According to a 2016 survey by a major online payments service, 22 percent of the 1000 respondents shop on the toilet.
5. MANY PEOPLE DON’T THINK IT’S FUN.
In that same survey, 19 percent of Millennials said they’d rather text with their boss on a weekend than go holiday shopping. A fifth of Baby Boomers would rather go to the dentist. However, another forecast finds that 61 percent of consumers find holiday shopping fun.
6. PEOPLE LOVE GIFTING CLOTHES.
According to one survey by a major consulting group, 50 percent of consumers plan on giving loved ones clothes for the holidays. In 2014, holiday shoppers spent $40 million at U.S. clothing stores.
7. YOUR GIFT WAS PROBABLY ON SALE.
More than 75 percent of respondents in the former shopping survey said that a sale would impact at least one of their holiday gift purchases.
8. THAT GIFT YOU GOT PROBABLY WASN'T PLANNED.
It’s the thought that counts, and in many cases, the thought is “Cool, I should buy that!” About 20 percent of holiday gifts this seasons are expected to be impulse buys, although shoppers say that around half of their gifts were pre-planned purchases.
9. HOLIDAY SHOPPING CAN MAKE OR BREAK A RETAILER'S YEAR.
Holiday shopping can account for up to 30 percent of a retailer's annual sales.
10. SOME PEOPLE START REALLY EARLY.
One survey found that 29 percent of consumers largely completed their holiday shopping before Black Friday. In another survey, shoppers said they would start shopping in October or earlier.
11. PETS WON’T GET LEFT OUT OF THE HOLIDAY FUN.
Pet owners are expected to spend an average of $62 on their furry friends this season.
12. NOT ALL GIFTS ARE FOR OTHER PEOPLE.
One consumer-spending forecast from October 2016 found that not all holiday purchases are for other people. Some 58 percent of consumers will buy gifts for themselves, spending an average of about $140 in the process.
13. THOSE DECORATION SPLURGES ADD UP.
Being festive can get expensive. The aforementioned October 2016 survey found that the average shopper would spend more than $200 on decorations, food, flowers, and greeting cards this holiday season.
14. A SURPRISING AMOUNT OF HOLIDAY SHOPPING HAPPENS AT THE GROCERY STORE.
In the same survey, almost 45 percent of respondents said they were planning to shop at a grocery store for the holidays.
15. PLENTY OF THOSE GIFTS GET RETURNED.
In 2015, the most popular time of the year to return retail purchases was during lunch on December 26, according to one retail study. The Midwest saw some of the highest rates of holiday gift returns, with return rates of more than 19 percent the week after Christmas (comparing dollars of purchases and dollars returned). January 2, 2016 was the most popular day to return items during that month.