Analytics Reveal Holiday Sales, Travel on the Rise

By December 22, 2016Analytics

Christmas holiday shopping and travel is on the rise, according to analytics from industry organizations.Retailers did their best with data analytics to decide what products to stock for the holiday season. Manufacturers used their own analysis of past holiday seasons and this year’s orders to determine what to make. In the middle, logistics and shipping firms worked with real-time data to move products from manufacturers, then to warehouses and finally to the retailers.

Before the holiday season concludes, let’s take a broad overview of the data these companies used to gain insight so they could make the right business decisions.

Retail Group Forecasts Holiday Sales Increase

If you plan to spend almost $600 for holiday gifts this year, you’re not alone. The National Retail Federation forecast a 3.6% increase in holiday sales this year over 2015, up to an average of $588.90. That’s a total of $655.9 billion in holiday shopping for the United States. Colder weather should spur more sales if shoppers follow past trends.

We want sales, with the majority of us making that our top factor in choosing a retailer. Quality and selection come close as reasons we choose where to shop(or come in a close second). Free shipping and easy online shopping continue to grow in importance for our holiday shopping destinations.

For those last-minute gifts, you can’t go wrong with a gift card for women, as 69% of women want gift cards. But 53% of men want gift cards and 41% want their electronic gadgets. (Play it safe and buy a gift card to an electronics retailer for men.)

Two Turtle Doves Cost Much More This Year

I If you’re dead set on getting your true love the gifts from the carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you’d better increase your budget. PNC calculated its “Christmas Price Index” (CPI) based on those gifts. It would cost $34,363.49 for just the 12th day of gifts. That’s everything from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming. The biggest price hike by percentage was for those two turtle doves, which went up in price by nearly 30%. The entire 12 days of gifts will set you back more than $156,000. (Skip the swans a swimming and you’ll spend a bit more than $21,000.)

Check out PNC’s CPI website with your children for a fun economic lesson. There’s even a coloring book you can download.

Keep Heat Away from Your Christmas Tree

Be careful when you’re putting those gifts under the Christmas tree. The National Fire Protection Association warns that while tree fires are rare, they can be deadly. An average of 210 home structure fires per year from 2010-2014 caused an average of six deaths, 16 injuries and $16.2 million in direct property damage. Keep heat sources such as candles or space heaters far away from trees or anything else flammable. These caused more than one-quarter of all fires and 80% of the deaths.

More Americans Taking to Highways, Flights

When we’re done buying gifts for the family and friends, many of us will head out on the highway or to the airport this holiday season. AAA forecasts that more than 103 million Americans plan to travel for the year-end holidays, defined as from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, 2017. That’s a record and 1.5 million more than last year with the majority of us traveling on the highway.

AAA expects to rescue almost 1 million motorists, but that’s not a statistic for which any of us want to be a part. Get your car checked out. Star with your tires and battery – those are two of the three primary reasons AAA will get called. (Keeping a spare key fob in another pocket might prevent one of those awful lockouts.)

Airports and flights will be more crowded than ever with 6 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations. That’s a 2.5% increase from 2015 for year-end travel. The longer holiday season defined by Airlines for America started Dec. 16 and runs through Jan. 6. That U.S. airlines industry trade organization forecasts 45.2 million passengers will fly globally on U.S. airlines during the holidays, a 3.5% increase.
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