A Big-Picture Look at This Year’s Holiday Spending

Plus, the one thing retailers need to do to get a piece of it

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—particularly for retailers. With the National Retail Federation forecasting a 4.1 percent increase in consumer spending this holiday season, those on both sides of the transactions seem to be feeling the spirit.

But it’s never been more necessary to keep up with consumers, who have evolved in their shopping preferences and habits. Smartphones and the Internet are almost always a part of the buying journey now, but often their use is in a bricks-and-mortar store.

A whopping 73 percent of the 1,000 consumers surveyed by Retale said they will use their mobile phones as a part of holiday shopping. And these consumers expect a store’s mobile site, online store and in-store experiences to be seamless and consistent—or even better, complementary. For example, coupons and deals should  be easily accessible and identical across channels, but 40 percent of retailers surveyed by Accent said they their promotions vary across platforms.

"Consumers will put retailers to the test when it comes to the product mix and value companies can offer today’s shopper, who is focused on much more than price," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

Using data from four different studies, here’s a look at this season’s major consumer trends.

Infographic: Carlos Monteiro