Recent data from the NPD Group confirms that it was a lackluster holiday season at retail.
U.S. holiday sales in key general merchandise categories rose just 0.2% last year, essentially coming up flat compared to 2018. The truncated holiday selling season — the shortest since 2013 — saw a big uptick in the final week, with NPD’s weekly point-of-sale results reflecting strong sales volumes across apparel, toys, technology, small appliances, athletic footwear, and more.
“Holiday 2019 was all about cadence, with early promotions moving a fair amount of holiday sales ahead of the traditional shopping period and a surge of sales during the final week’s last-minute rush,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, the NPD Group. “Additionally, consumers continue to migrate to more ‘intangible’ gifting, putting more emphasis on experiences than things and focusing more on how they live than how they look this holiday.”
One concerning note that will be explored in greater detail later this month is how the toy industry as a whole performed. According to NPD, toys joined apparel in charting the largest sales declines when compared to the 2018 holiday season.