NPD Finds Retail Changes Coming Slowly

While sales are slightly slower than last year, retail's holiday season has started early.

License Global

September 26, 2022

2 Min Read
NPD logo.
NPD logo.NPD

According to The NPD Group, seasonal retail sales have fallen short of traditional peaks, but as of September 17, year-to-date sales revenue is just 2% below last year.   

Research finds that demand is slightly lower than last year, with unit sales down 8%, but consumers continue to spend. NPD points to the recent back-to-school season to establish the changed buying behaviors. Categories like footwear picked up speed in mid-September, apparel sales stalled when shoppers waited for cooler temperatures, then got a boost in sales.  

"Seasonal spending is spreading out as consumers focus on getting what they need in the moment," says Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor, The NPD Group. "Retailers and manufacturers should prepare for Holiday 2022 to follow suit with an elongated shopping season and consumers shopping prudently to account for higher prices across retail."   

In an August 2022 NPD survey:  

  • Nearly 80% of consumers stated they have or plan to cut back spending because of inflation.  

  • Restaurant dining remained the top cutback category, apparel ranked second, and air travel/road trips were third on the chopping block. 

  • 43% of respondents indicated that they would spend less this holiday season than last year due to higher prices. 

  • Nearly 50% of holiday shoppers indicated they would be looking for more sales this year than last year. 

  • More than 50% of holiday shoppers will likely start shopping early to get their desired products. 

According to Checkout, NPD's consumer receipt-based information, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been the top two holiday shopping days for the past three years (despite the pandemic). Amazon's Prime Day debut in October 2020 marked the top holiday shopping day, taking the No. 3 spot. In 2019 and 2021, the third-most-popular holiday shopping day landed on a Saturday in December.   

"The anticipation of another set of promotional events from Amazon, Target, and other retailers this October, combined with this year's trend of elongated retail shopping seasons, lower peaks in sales results, and the consumer's interest in getting a good deal, early promotions will once again capture significant attention," says Cohen. "At the same time, more normalcy is resurfacing, and the consumer excitement to get into stores for the deal-hunting they have missed over the past two years is capable of sparking increased activity for retailers who create a sense of urgency around the more traditional peak days for in-store traffic."  

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