For Immediate Release: November 15, 2015
With Georgia’s economy continuing to strengthen and more residents feeling good about their own economic situation and willing to spend money, the holiday shopping season looks bright for retailers
ATLANTA, GA – The Georgia Retail Association (GRA), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 50 years, announced today that the upcoming shopping season looks very bright for Georgia’s retailers. Thanks to a state economy that continues to grow, more residents employed thanks as evidenced by a low unemployment rate and increased consumer confidence, which means more consumers feeling comfortable about spending money, GRA is predicting a successful holiday shopping season for Peach State retailers.
“Georgia’s economy remains strong, plus a low unemployment rate and increased financial confidence among consumers should lead to a successful holiday shopping season for our 121,000 retailers statewide,” said GRA President/CEO Randy Miller. “Smart and savvy retailers will seize on this positive momentum by incorporating discounts, sales and other perks to stand out from the crowd this season.”
Consumers are expected to spend an average of $935 on gifts, which is down slightly from 2015’s average of $952 according to GRA’s partners at the National Retail Federation, but the total spending is expected to increase to more than $655 billion, up from $630 billion last year thanks to the continued growth and spending of Millennials. The holiday shopping season accounts for 20-40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales and steady year-over-year sales shows increasing economy stability. Georgia’s retail industry totals more than 121,000 businesses which employ 1.3 million Georgians, and is responsible for one out of every four jobs.
In an effort to attract shoppers of all types, retailers will be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching options, hot-selling toys and free shipping, which continues to be one of the most popular requested promotions each year.
Peach State shoppers will load up on the most popular items this year, led by gift cards for the 10th year in a row, followed by apparel and footwear, toys and games (not including apps or video games), men’s and women’s accessories, cosmetics and fragrances, and electronics. The most popular toys this holiday season will include Nerf items, LEGOS, toys from Disney Junior channel cartoons, microphones, drones and merchandise from two movies expected to drive millions to the theaters: Trolls and Star Wars: Rogue One. The big ticket items include smartphones and tablets, TVs, video games and video game systems. The stores that will see the biggest increases in 2016 include health and personal care stores, building material, garden equipment and supply stores, and electronics and appliance stores.
One piece of advice to shoppers is if you see a good deal on an item early on in your shopping, make sure to buy it then as opposed to waiting and hoping for a better deal. Just as technology has made shoppers smarter and more savvy, it has also allowed retailers to better respond to demand by matching their inventory and not overstocking their merchandise. Speaking of early shopping, 40 percent of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Halloween to help spread out their spending with 29 percent complete by Black Friday.
“Shoppers shouldn’t be surprised to see Christmas decorations already up in stores, as retailers want to give that festive and fun holiday shopping experience to those consumers who want to complete their shopping early,” said Miller. “Retailers continue to respond to what their customers want, which is to see Saint Nick and holiday themes in their favorite stores in November and even October.”
One of the positive impacts of the holiday shopping season is the increase in employment. These jobs include workers stocking inventory, customer service, warehousing and even management. Nationally, the industry is expected to see between 640,000-690,000 seasonal jobs. The increase in hiring and the increase in economic activity during the holiday season have a positive impact on industries outside of just retail.
“The holiday shopping season means tens of thousands of jobs for Georgia residents, and much needed income for families this time of year,” said Miller. “Every temporary job has the possibility to turn into a permanent one, and retail still remains the best industry for young, new or returning workers to find employment, learn valuable skills and grow themselves professionally.”
Shoppers will spend around $935 per person this year, and this breaks down to:
- $590 on gifts for family, friends and co-workers
- $207 on decorations, flowers and greeting cards,
- and $140 on themselves.
The top five categories for items being purchased this year are:
- Gift cards
- Apparel and footwear
- Toys and games (not including apps or video games)
- Men’s and women’s accessories, cosmetics and fragrances
The most popular toys this holiday season include:
- Trolls dolls and figurines
- Nerf items
- Disney Junior cartoon merchandise such as Paw Patrol and PJ Masks
- Star Wars: Rogue One movie merchandise
Online sales are forecast to increase between 7 and 10 percent over last year to as much as $117 billion. Top 5 reasons a consumer chooses a store:
- Sales or discounts
- Quality of merchandise
- Free shipping or shipping promotion
Nationally, the industry is expected to see between 640,000-690,000 seasonal jobs, which is in line with last year’s total.
For the tenth year in a row, gift cards are the most popular requested and given holiday gift, with 61 percent saying they would like to receive gift cards.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA RETAIL ASSOCATION
Since 1961, the Georgia Retail Association has been working on behalf of the retail community to unite and pursue the common goal of creating the best environment for retailing in Georgia. Retail supports 1 out of 4 jobs in the state and is directly and indirectly responsible for 78% of Georgia's gross domestic product. The Georgia Retail Association is a division of the Florida Retail Federation.