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A UT expert is predicting that earlier shopping, self-gifting, and mobile commerce will dominate the 2015 holiday shopping season.

Ann Fairhurst
Ann Fairhurst

“Overall, holiday spending will be up 3.7 percent from last year, but the estimated number of people shopping during Thanksgiving weekend is expected to be down, which means deep discounts and door-buster savings for shoppers,” said Ann Fairhurst, professor and department head for UT’s retail, hospitality, and tourism management program.

Online shoppers are expected to shatter Cyber Monday sales records, which are expected to hit $3 billion for the first time—a 13 percent increase from last year. Experts predict that 46 percent of all holiday browsing and buying will take place online.

Fairhurst says there will be more self-gifting this year, with nearly 56 percent of female shoppers expected to splurge on a gift for themselves.

According to the National Retail Federation’s latest consumer spending survey, 40 percent of consumers got a jump start and began holiday shopping before Halloween.

“Early shoppers will spread out their budget, take advantage of early promotions, and avoid crowds and last-minute shopping stress,” said Fairhurst.

Top gift items this shopping season include gift cards, clothing and accessories, CDs, DVDs, and video games. Toys related to blockbuster movies and children’s shows—”Star Wars,” “Jurassic World” and “Shopkins”—will be the most popular items for kids.

“The Fisher Price Smart Toy Bear, Star Wars BB-8 droid, and the Sky Viper drone will fly off shelves,” said Fairhurst.

Fairhurst said consumers are looking for added-value promotions such as a gift card with purchase, complimentary gift wrapping, price matching, in-store pickup and free shipping.

“Price is still very important for holiday shoppers, who expect good sales and price discounts,” said Fairhurst. “Shoppers also plan to use mobile devices more this holiday season to research products and to connect with retail stores to look up hours, directions, and promotions.”



Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,