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Holiday Sales Expected To Grow Again This Year

Generational groups differ in where and how they shop.


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At the Galleria mall, Christmas decorations are up and shoppers are busy.

Roxanne Rogers was just starting to shop for the holidays – and she said plans to spend a lot.

"Far more than I need to!" she said.

This year, holiday sales are expected to grow between 3.5 and four percent, according to JLL.

James Cook, the financial services firm's director of retail research, said holiday sales shrank in 2008 and remained flat in 2009.

Since then, they've grown every year.

"So, not unlikely the U.S. GDP, holiday sales since then have been growing at, sort of, this slow and steady rate," he said.

In the state, the Texas Retailers Association said it expects a "solid sales increase over last year."

Probably not surprisingly, in the JLL survey, more people – especially Millennials and Gen Xers – said they'll shop online, although not at the rate some may expect.

Cook said online-based retailers, such as Amazon, make up only about 3 percent of all holiday sales. This does not include traditional retailers that also offer online shopping.

"It's certainly growing but it hasn't taken over physical sales as dramatically as some have predicted that it would," he said.

But over the Thanksgiving weekend last year, about the same amount of people said they shopped online as did in stores, according to the National Retail Federation.

Cook said another interesting pattern is how different generations plan to shop. Baby boomers and those above 70 tend to look more for quality, while the younger age groups focus on price.

"The Millennials and the Gen Xers both said discount department stores were their biggest choice," he said, "whereas boomers and the over-70 crowd, their by far biggest choice for holiday shopping were your traditional department stores, for example your Macy's or your J.C. Penney."

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Ward Booth is in his 60s but he plans to do his shopping online and at Costco.

"Online because it's easy," the University of Houston professor said. "And Costco because I go there all the time anyway and I love Costco."

He expects to spend under $500 for gifts this holiday season.

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