2018 Holiday Outlook

It’s beginning to look a lot like…a season of robust shopping

Glad tidings of shopping joy

PwC’s 2018 Holiday Outlook report reveals findings from our national survey of 2,071 consumers, offering details about where and when consumers will shop, what drives their purchasing decisions, their holiday travel and movie-going plans and how retailers are preparing for the season.

Economic growth in 2018 is poised to be the strongest since 2005, which translates into positive consumer sentiment, thus stimulating further growth and signaling a strong holiday shopping season.

Consumers told us they will spend an average of $1,250 each this holiday on gifts, travel, and entertainment, an increase of 5% over last year.

Felices fiestas: Hispanic parents enjoy shopping, movies, and hosting family gatherings

Digitally savvy, Hispanic consumers constitute almost 20% of the overall population. And they spend $100 billion annually on consumer packaged goods. 

This holiday, Hispanic parents will spend 20% more than all consumers, according to PwC’s 2018 Holiday Outlook. True omnichannel shoppers, they seek both in-store and digital shopping experiences and they are particularly active on social media. 

An experience that connects the dots—tech-enabled, personalized, and family-friendly—is a winning holiday bonanza for retailers looking to attract Hispanic parents. 

loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

Explore key findings

Who’s driving the spending?

Who’s driving spending?

Despite some anxiety around cost of living, the majority of consumers (84%) told us they will spend the same or more this holiday as they did last year. High-earning millennials, Hispanic parents and shoppers over 35 are the biggest spenders this holiday season. Younger consumers (aged 17-22) spend a higher proportion of their holiday budget on gifts for friends than consumers overall. In all categories, the holidays are a time for giving to others. On average, consumers will spend more on friends and family and spend slightly less on themselves.

What do consumers want?

What do consumers want?

It's no surprise that shoppers want the best value for their money this holiday. But they also want a stress-free experience that doesn’t involve spending a lot of time or going to a lot of different stores. And more of them—especially millennials—will use mobile payment.

Millennials with Benjamins

Millennials with Benjamins

High-earning millennials care about quality, convenience and speed—sometimes more than price.  Confident about the economy, millennials (aged 23-36) with annual household incomes of $70,000 or more are looking forward to a season of spending this holiday. In fact, the overwhelming majority of them (92%) will spend the same or more as they did last year. And they will spend more than double this holiday ($2,021) as millennials with annual household incomes below $70,000 ($839).

Streetwear reigns supreme

Streetwear reigns supreme

More than clothing, it’s an attitude. Valued at upwards of $100 billion, streetwear is a style of casual clothing that blends diverse global elements with origins traced to skateboard culture. And young consumers respond in droves, swooping up sneakers, t-shirts, hoodies, jogger pants and other apparel and accessories in record time. More than 49% of consumers told us they wear this stylized form of clothing some or all the time. Meanwhile, almost 71% of millennials (aged 23-36) and 74% of Gen Z (aged 17-22) wear it some or all the time.

Felices fiestas

Felices fiestas

True omnichannel shoppers, mobile-savvy Hispanic parents are more likely to shop via smartphone than other shoppers (21% v 16%). They also prefer shopping in stores (57% v 49%) and will do so for the bulk of their holiday shopping on Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day. Hip to the culture of streetwear, they are also partial to health and fitness and personalized products and services.

Gen Z tastes adulthood-and likes it

Gen Z tastes adulthood—and likes it

More than 40% of Gen Z consumers will spend more this holiday than they did last year. Given their prolific social media use, it’s no surprise that Gen Z shoppers are more likely than consumers overall to use “buy” buttons (56% v 39%) and shoppable photos (34% v 25%). Mobile-savvy, they are also more likely to use their smartphones (32% v 24%) and wearable devices (25% v 16%) to pay in stores.

The proof is in the prime

The proof is in the prime

A loyal bunch, Amazon Prime shoppers are more open to new ways of shopping, paying and shipping. Trained to expect close-to-instant fulfillment, they are more likely than non-Prime members (47% v 28%) to use “buy” buttons online. Prime members will spend more this holiday ($1,531) than non-Prime members ($932). Among the early adopters of expedited shipping, Prime members are willing to pay more for speed and convenience.

Pawsome holiday memories

Pawsome holiday memories

Some 70% of American households own a pet, driving annual spending of $70 billion in 2017. Millennials, the largest pet-owning consumer segment, own 35% of all pets. And half of them buy gifts for their pets at least once a month. High-earning millennials (>$70K annual household income) told us they will spend $183 on average while millennial parents spend $141. Consumers overall will spend $67 each on their pets this holiday season.

Away we go

Away we go

About a third of consumers will travel this holiday, spending approximately $1,437 each, on average. Higher earners in our survey—those with annual household incomes of $65,000 or more—will spend more than three times on travel as consumers with annual household incomes less than $65,000. Looking for a travel price break? Travel just before or just after the holidays.

What's trending for Holiday 2018

loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

Felices fiestas: Hispanic parents enjoy shopping, movies, and hosting family gatherings
loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

Consumers shop for the holiday experience: Travel+entertainment+holiday gatherings=a merry season
loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

Mobile rising this holiday season
loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

The highlights of the 2018 Holiday Outlook
loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

Shopping on Thanksgiving Day
loading-player

Playback of this video is not currently available

That chocolate bar in your holiday gift basket? Trace its journey with blockchain technology 

{{filterContent.facetedTitle}}

How PwC can help

PwC's Consumer markets is a leading financial accounting, tax and advisory practice serving a broad spectrum of service, merchandising and manufacturing organizations. High-growth tech start-ups, food manufacturers, airlines, hotels and retail outlets are among countless organizations that rely on our integrated knowledge and tailored solutions to succeed nationally or globally.

At PwC, we understand the challenges and we see the opportunities—addressing change at the convergence of powerful industries is where we thrive. PwC’s multi-disciplinary, global team of consulting, tax and assurance professionals can help you turn innovation into practice and practice into growth.

Connect with us today.  

Contact us

Steve Barr

Consumer Markets Leader, PwC US

Tel: +1 (415) 498 5190

Allison Stone

Consumer Markets, PwC US

Tel: +1 (646) 471 8766

Krystin Weseman

Consumer Markets, Senior Analyst, PwC US

Tel: +1 (312) 298 4238

Follow us