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Philly shoppers to spend big this holiday season, way up from anxious 2020: Deloitte

“Rebound shopping” takes hold as consumers return to mass market retailers, department stores.

Shopping in Center City Philadelphia file picture taken on Thursday afternoon September 30, 2021.
Shopping in Center City Philadelphia file picture taken on Thursday afternoon September 30, 2021.Read moreALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

This holiday season, Philadelphia shoppers are expected to charge back into stores and spend an average of $1,544, up from last year’s pandemic-ridden shopping season, when they spent just $1,322, on average.

Last year, many residents were too fearful of shopping in person or were struggling financially amid the pandemic. But Philly shoppers’ overall holiday spending should rise an average of 17% this year, as household finances improve from last year, according to new data from the 2021 Deloitte holiday retail survey.

Philadelphians are also expected to spend on big-ticket items such as clothing ($363, on average), gift cards ($333), and home and kitchen wares ($223), all up over last year.

National retail executives surveyed by Deloitte widely expect shoppers to spend significantly more this holiday season, as Americans venture out and concerns for health and safety diminish.

Supply-chain issues

There are hiccups expected — in particular, supply chain problems. Nearly three-fourths, or 73%, of Philly shoppers are worried that items will be out of stock, especially electronics, accessories, toys, and hobby items.

Four in 10 will likely start shopping earlier this year, with half citing potential shipping issues and out-of-stock items as the reason. And 69% of shoppers plan to shop before Thanksgiving (vs. 59% in 2020), Deloitte found.

“The supply chain will be the Grinch of the holiday season,” Deloitte’s local retail expert, Jenna Pogorzelski, said in an interview.

“The supply-chain constraints are on everyone’s mind. As a mom, I’m concerned about it, so I’m shopping earlier,” she said.

The good news: 80% of shoppers feel the same or better financially vs. last year, and “that makes our Philly residents ready to do rebound shopping.”

Online shopping remains prominent for the season, with 62% of Philly shoppers expected to buy holiday gifts through the web, vs. 64% last year.

In-store shopping is rebounding, however, as health concerns ease. “Consumers are more comfortable going in stores,” she said, “and that’s going to be a lift in mass merchants and traditional department stores,” such as Target and Macy’s. “Those two formats are stealing market share from grocery stores and discounters” such as BJ, Sam’s Club and Costco, she added.

About 53% are expecting to shop in mass market stores and 36% in department stores, according to the survey.

Black Friday forecast

About one-third, or 36%, of Philadelphians plan to shop on Black Friday, up from 28% in 2020. They are estimated to spend an average of $479, versus the national average of $430, Deloitte said in its survey.

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between Sept. 7 and 14, 2021. It polled a national sample of 4,315 respondents and a regional sample of 411 Philadelphia respondents and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus one to two percentage points.