Holiday shoppers have a new habit - and it's good news for retailers

WalmartAP/Gunnar Rathbun

  • Shoppers are "self-gifting" this holiday season.
  • The behavior stems from high consumer confidence and the fact that shoppers are often waiting until the holidays to get a deal.
  • This is good new for retailers.

It's better to give than receive, but what if you're doing both?

Shoppers are "self-gifting" more this year, according to an analyst group that spoke to CNBC. That means that as shoppers go about their holiday gift-buying duties, they're also buying a few not-so-little things for themselves.

A study from NPD Group shows that more people plan to buy more for themselves this holiday. 19% of responders said they will "definitely" spend more on themselves, while 40% said they might.

This reflects a high consumer confidence sentiment - people have money, and it's burning a hole in their pockets.

Self-gifting has been on the rise for a while now, often growing year over year, but it's harder to measure than overall spending.

Many customers wait until the holidays to buy for themselves the thing that they've had their eye on all year. There are also a lot more advertised sales during the holidays, which can influence shoppers to pull the trigger.

Self-gifting can be treated as a test of consumer confidence, as it's an additional, non-required form of spending. Usually, self-gifts include things like electronics, cookware, and certain apparel, like sweaters and boots.

Self-gifting is the impetus behind newer shopping holidays like Prime Day and China's Singles' Day. It's also a big reason why consumer spending keeps setting records, especially online.
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