Christmas holiday shopping in the United States
Despite complaints from some about the commercialization of Christmas, the practice of spending on gifts for family and friends has a strong presence and is the cultural norm in the United States. However, one practice that is changing is where shoppers are going to do their Christmas shopping. Annual holiday season retail e-commerce sales growth in the United States shows that online shopping during the holiday season is growing at a rate higher than that of total retail sales as seen above. As such, local retailers are concerned that more shoppers are choosing to shop from home or on the go through their mobile devices. A survey of the most important factors in a customer’s decision of retailer during the holiday season showed that sales or price discounts as well as selection of merchandise were among the most important factors. Local retailers may find it increasingly difficult to compete with the prices and selection offered online given the ability of large online platforms to harness the benefits of economies of scale and wide market access. However, there is hope for local retailers. According to a 2015 survey of those who chose to shop at a local retailers, 54 percent of those surveyed suggested that the appeal of one-of-a-kind gifts gave local retailers an advantage.
Many industries within the retail sector see sales increase during the holiday period in comparison to retail sales in other months. For example, around one fifth of the retail sales of jewelry stores in the United States are in the month of December. A number of retail outlets are also reliant on Christmas without targeting gifts for the holiday season. A look at the Christmas tree retail value shows that consumers spent around 2 billion U.S. dollars on Christmas trees in 2016.