The Ultimate Collection of 2015 Holiday Spending Predictions

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Dec 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM


Feeling conflicted about what consumers are going to be up to this holiday spending season?

You should, because the predictions from various companies and economic forecasters is all over the map.

It's going to be better than last year, and it'll also be worse! People will spend most of their money in-store, but even more will be spent via mobile devices!

Who’s going to be right, and who’ll be wrong? Trying to decipher it all can feel like betting on roulette. Your guess is as good as anyone else’s.

Access can help you sort it all out! We’ve created an ongoing collection of pre-season predictions from reputable sources. (You'll recognize our love of stats from our popular loyalty statistics and employee engagement stats pages)

We’ve tried to limit the scope of predictions to spending and major influences on purchases. We’ve also singled out Black Friday and Cyber Monday predictions, for your enjoyment.

As we come across more data, we’ll add it.

Then, come around February or so, we’ll create another page with results. We’ll compare what these guesses with reported results (which, to be fair, can be all over the map as well).

2015 Holiday Spending Predictions

  • Holiday spending will be up 3.7% to $630.5 billion, slower than the 4.1 percent increase during last year's November-December period (Source)
  • US retail sales in the months of November and December 2015 will increase 5.7% year over year, reaching $885.70 billion (Source)
  • U.S. retail sales will increase 2.8% overall (Source)
  • The 2015 holiday season will see only a 2.4% increase from last year (Source)
  • Brick-and-mortar sales will decrease 7-8%, traffic will fall 8.1%, with conversion up 0.6 points and sales per shopper up 3.5% (Source)
  • Consumers will spend $4.3 billion a day in sales or $30 billion a week at local shopping centers (Source)
  • Online spending should be up 6% to 8% for Nov-Dec to as much as $105 billion (Source)
  • Total online retail spending for the November–December period will reach $70.1 billion, representing a 14% gain from $61.3 billion a year earlier (Source)
  • Total desktop spending is expected to reach $58.3 billion, up 9% from $53.3 million (Source)
  • Ecommerce will hit 9.0% of total retail sales this season, or $79.40 billion, up from 8.3% share last year (Source)
  • Digital sales will increase 16.2%, growing from 10.5% to 11.9% of sales (Source)
  • Online spending should represent about 15% of all consumer spending during the holiday season (Source)
  • Mobile spending is expected to reach $11.7 billion, or about 17% of all holiday online commerce, this figure is up 47% from $8 billion the prior year (Source)
  • 53% indicate they will likely spend about the same as last year and 32% indicating they will likely spend more than last year (Source)
  • The average spend per person will hit about $805.65, compared to $820.45 last year (Source)
  • 26% of consumers expect to increase their spending this month (Source)
  • Respondents expect to spend 12.5% more on gifts and non-gift items for the holidays overall (Source)
  • 46% of the shopping, including browsing and buying, will be online (Source)
  • 41% consumers plan to complete all or some of their shopping online (Source)
  • 54% prefer shopping online (Source)
  • Those who make under $50,000 plan to spend an average of $681 for the holidays, less than a year ago (Source)
  • Those who make more than $50,000 a year said they plan to spend an average of $1,331, which is more than they did a year ago (Source)
  • Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year (Source)
  • 5.8% of holiday shoppers will splurge on themselves and/or others for non-gift items, and will spend an average of $131.59, up from $126.37 last year (Source)
  • Millennials (age 25 to 35) are estimated to spend 52% of their holiday spending on experiences, compared to 24 percent for older shoppers (Source)
  • Millennials will potentially spend $63 billion this holiday season, which would be more than they spent last season (Source)
  • The most popular items this holiday season will likely focus on health and wellness, athletic leisure, and innovative products and will likely fall within the following categories: gift cards, toys, clothes and shoes, accessories, and home electronics (Source)
  • 77% of retailers expect a 16% increase over last year in digital revenues this holiday season (Source)
  • Leaders in online shopping will likely experience 40% to 50% increases in digital revenues (Source)
  • 21.4% of smartphone owners will use their device to purchase holiday merchandise this year (Source)
  • 60.3% of consumers will purchase apparel or clothing accessories, 46.2% said they will purchase books, CDs, DVDs and/or video games, 41.2% said they will buy toys, 21.8% and 30.5% will buy food and/or candy, 56.3% will buy gift cards, down from 60% last year (Source)
  • Holiday shoppers will likely use their debit card the most when paying for gifts this year (39%), 38.2% will use their credit card, 20.2% will pay for gifts with cash and 2.5% will use a check, 55.1% of those surveyed say they will or may use PayPal to pay for holiday gifts (Source)
  • On average, consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts for eight people, spending the majority of their shopping dollars (total average of $839) (Source)
  • Most desired gifts: Gift cards (57%) clothing and accessories (47%) and toys/games (44%) (Source)

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Black Friday & Cyber Monday Predictions

  • Spending on Cyber Monday (Nov. 30) is expected to become the heaviest online spending day in history for the sixth straight year with about $3 billion in online commerce, with roughly $500 million (17%) coming from mobile devices (Source) 
  • 78% said they plan to make Cyber Monday purchases (Source)
  • Consumers will likely complete more holiday shopping (29%) before the start of Black Friday week than during (26%) (Source)
  • Retailers forecast a 2.4% increase in Black Friday sales and a 2.9% increase in Cyber Monday sales (Source)
  • 59% of shoppers plan to make a purchase at a physical store over the weekend (Source)
  • 85% of shoppers expect retailer holiday promotions to begin prior to Black Friday (Source)
  • Black Friday 2015 will surpass Black Friday 2014 (Source)
  • 32% of retailers project Cyber Monday sales to increase in 2015, compared to only 20% of retailers who felt the same level of optimism in 2014 (Source)
  • 45% of consumers will shop on Black Friday and 47% will shop on Cyber Monday (Source)
  • Between these two shopping holidays, consumers plan to spend $584 (Source)
  • 62% of consumers say they will only have completed half or less of their holiday shopping by this time (Source)
  • 55% plan to shop between the hours of 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Black Friday (Source)
  • 47% of Cyber Monday shoppers indicated they’ll be reluctant to make an in-store holiday season purchase from a retailer with whom they have an unhappy online experience on the Monday after Thanksgiving (Source)
  • When asked: “If I have a poor experience shopping online at a retailer’s Cyber Monday, I would still shop at the retailer’s physical store,” 30% of survey takers wouldn’t commit one way or another, 12% said they were unlikely to shop in-store and 5% said they were very unlikely to shop in-store (Source)
  • When asked: “If I have a poor experience at a retailer’s store location, I would still do my holiday shopping at that retailer’s online store,” 22% were neutral, 11% said they’d be unlikely to shop online with the retailer and 3% said they’d be very unlikely to shop the retailer online (Source)
  • 80% of retailers expect to earn up to 40% of their holiday sales during Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend (Source)
  • More people plan to shop on Dec. 26 vs Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Source)

Influence Predictions

  • Seventy-three percent (73%) plan to shop last minute (vs. 79% in 2014) (Source)
  • 18% of respondentssaid they would like to shop on Christmas Day (Source)
  • 58% of the general population said simply that they’d never shop on Christmas (Source)
  • 24% of the general population said they wouldn’t shop on Christmas, and would be less likely to shop in the future at a store open on Christmas, or recommend such a store to friends and family (Source)
  • 19% of holiday shoppers plan to purchase from a tablet, and 22% from a smartphone (Source)
  • 80% of shoppers plan to use a mobile device when shopping (Source)
  • 83% of smartphone owners who use their phones to shop will be using their devices to help shop during the hectic 2015 holiday season (Source)
  • 2% of holiday shoppers are planning to do the majority of their holiday shopping on mobile devices (Source)
  • 58% will use a smartphone for holiday shopping (Source)
  • 66% want the ability to pay via a mobile device using a method beyond standard credit card such as PayPal or Apple Pay (Source)
  • 49% mobile shoppers will rely on mobile apps and mobile web sites during the holidays to provide money-saving coupons (Source)
  • 75% of mobile shoppers have their favorite retailer's mobile app on their phones (Source)
  • 65% will look for promotions and coupons, 63% will check prices on that store's website and 61% will search for lower prices at another store or site (Source)
  • 44% of last minute shoppers most wait to find the best deals (vs. 46% in 2014) (Source)
  • 88% of the consumers surveyed said they wanted a reason to enter a mall or store for holiday shopping (Source)
  • 19% expect to make completely unplanned purchases (Source)
  • Almost 60% of consumers will likely shop in-store this holiday season because they want to see, touch, and try the merchandise (Source)
  • 49% of respondents find the post-holiday gift return process difficult in stores (Source)
  • 48% of in-store shoppers believe that they typically know more about a retailer's product than the store associate (Source)
  • 47% of shoppers continue to ask store associates for their opinions on products, 67% sometimes have doubts around whether associates are telling the truth (Source)
  • 28% agree that robots could replace store associates (Source)
  • 38% of shoppers say they won't shop with a retailer that doesn't offer free shipping (Source)
  • 87% of shoppers prioritized free shipping over fast shipping (13%) when purchasing gifts shopping online (Source)
  • 69% said that if a retailer couldn’t guarantee the delivery date of an online purchase, they’d cancel the order and place the buy with an online competitor (Source)
  • 61% of consumers surveyed say social media will have some influence on their purchasing decisions (Source)
  • 85% of consumers expect deals before Black Friday, with over half expecting them before October (Source)
  • 44% of those surveyed would be more inclined to shop in-store if they got money back on their purchase, 37% would be enticed by holiday sales (Source)
  • 78% of shoppers are likely to visit a store as a result of a text promotion or alert via mobile device (Source)
  • 62% will make a purchase as a result of a notification or offer sent to their mobile device while in the store (Source)
  • 89% want the ability to buy online and then pick up in-store (Source)
  • 56.6% of those celebrating the holidays had already started shopping by early November (Source)
  • 82% of shoppers plan to use the Internet to research their holiday purchases (Source)
  • 60% expect to follow recommendations from online retailers specifically (Source)
  • Shoppers we surveyed expect 57% of their purchases will be planned before going to a specific store or website (Source)
  • 80% of consumers research products online before going into a store (Source)
  • 46.9% will use an online search to find gifts, 35.4% of those surveyed will look for inspiration for holiday gifts through advertising circulars. 30% will look to catalogs and 31% will use TV ads (Source)
  • Email and in-store promotions (cited by 53% each) are the channels where consumers feel they are most enticed by offers and coupons (Source)
  • 67% plan to buy items on sale and 47% plan to use store coupons while shopping (Source)
  • 69% of U.S. shoppers are likely to participate in ‘webrooming’ (shopping for products online before visiting the retail store to make their purchase) and 65% are likely to participate in ‘showrooming’ (visiting a store to review a product before purchasing it online) (Source)
  • 22% saying they would choose drone delivery, if it was available, to get an online purchase faster, versus 55% who said they’d be more comfortable with traditional shipping methods and 23% who said they had no shipment method preference (Source)
  • Seven in 10 (70%) plan to shop local this holiday season, primarily to support the local economy (59%) and find one-of-a-kind gifts (54%). Roughly four in 10 go local for convenience (42%) and excellent customer service (38 %) (Source)
  • Why consumers won't go to brick and mortar stores for holiday shopping: crowds (82%), convenience of online shopping and limited parking (48% each), and lack of knowledge/service from seasonal employees (24%) (Source)
  • 54% of gift recipients this holiday season will be dealing with at least one problem regarding a gift or service received from a friend or family member (Source)
  • 63% of consumers are likely to experience no satisfaction whatsoever in dealing with a product or service complaint (Source)
  • Two-thirds of all respondents experienced customer rage (Source)
  • 94% of all shoppers surveyed said they expect retailers to take extra measures to keep checkout lines moving during the holiday rush (Source)
  • When asked why they avoided stores completely during the holiday season, 36% of shoppers said their primary reason is waiting too long at the checkout (Source)
  • 80% of shoppers said they blame the retailer if they have to wait because of another customer’s coupons, returns or customer service problems (Source)
  • 89% of all shoppers said they expect retailers to take extra measures to keep departments orderly despite the busy season (Source)
  • 20% of shoppers reported an unhappy experience during last year’s gift-buying season that completely ruined their holiday mood (Source)
  • 59% of shoppers said holiday gift return policies make or break their opinion of a retailer (Source)


 2016 loyalty stats

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding.

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