More brick-and-mortar shopping
Spending in America’s stores and malls will accelerate this year for a 3.7-percent increase over last year’s holiday-shopping level, according to the National Retail Federation. That compares with average annual growth for the prior 10 years of 2.5 percent, the group notes. The upshot: More shoppers out and about this year, hopefully working up an appetite for restaurant food. The NRF says 113.5 million people will be shopping this weekend alone.
Good & bad news on internet shopping
Growth in brick-and-mortar transactions continues to lag the surge in online shopping, the NRF points out. It predicts that digital purchases will soar by 6 percent to 8 percent.
But that’s not necessarily bad news for restaurants, suggests research from MasterCard. It discovered that 15 percent of that shopping by mouse will likely be done in restaurants.
Travel predictions bode well for roadside places
Low gasoline prices are widely expected to deliver a boon this holiday season to restaurants that depend on consumers traveling by car. Less clear is how fears stoked by recent terrorist attacks and warnings might divert some airline travel to the roads.
All factors considered, the American Automobile Association expects 300,000 more consumersto travel this Thanksgiving Season than left home in 2014, for a grand total of nearly 47 million people. That’s the highest level since 2007, the association says.
AAA has yet to forecast auto travel for December. Last year’s levels set an all-time record, and gas prices have dipped since then to an average of $2.07 a gallon, the group says.
Gift-card sales expected to soften
Virtually dollars loaded onto a card have been the most-requested holiday gift for nine years running, according to the National Retail Federation. But it notes that spending on gift cards is expected to dip this year for the first time. Shoppers who buy the cards as gift will spend an average of $153.08, an 11 percent drop from the mean of 2014.
The group speculates that some shoppers may be reluctant to buy gift cards because the recipient may have one for them, too—of a higher amount.
Hurrah for holiday parties
Spending on year-end corporate parties is likely to increase by 8 percent to 11 percent, forecasts Dinova, a business-to-restaurant referral service. “All signs indicate that companies are likely to book more events to celebrate customers and bring employees together this December,” says CEO Vic Macchio.