Latest NRF Survey Shows Top Picks for Toys and Gifts for the Winter Holidays

“Retailers are stocked and ready with competitively priced products to help customers stretch their budgets and find all the items on their holiday lists.”

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

WASHINGTON – As three-quarters (74%) of consumers mark their calendars to shop during the upcoming five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the latest survey from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows the top items consumers are shopping for throughout the season, including the most popular toys.

“This holiday season, particularly the busy shopping days surrounding Thanksgiving, marks an important time of year for many Americans who cherish traditions and celebrations with family and friends,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers are stocked and ready to help customers find all the items on their holiday lists at competitive prices.”

The top five gift categories consumers plan to give are clothing (56%), followed by gift cards at 44%, toys at 37%, books, video games and other media at 31%, and food/candy at 29%. A record 28% of consumers intend to buy personal care and beauty items as gifts this holiday season, up from about one-quarter in recent years. 

The most popular source for gift inspiration remains online search (44%), followed by friends and family (35%), in store (32%) and wish lists (26%).

“Social media continues to be a popular destination to find holiday gift ideas, especially among younger consumers, who are turning to TikTok and Instagram for inspiration,” Prosper Insights & Analytics Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “For those between the ages of 35 and 44, Facebook is the favored platform for gathering gift ideas.”

Gift cards remain a perennial favorite for holiday shoppers. Total gift card spending is expected to reach $29.3 billion, up from $28.6 billion last year. Similar to last year, holiday shoppers plan to purchase between three to four gift cards and spend an average of $49.43 per card ($166.69 per person).

Restaurant gift cards are most popular (30%), followed by bank-issued gift cards (26%), department stores (26%) and coffee shops (21%).

The top toys for boys this year include Legos, Hot Wheels and cars, and the top toys for girls include Barbie, dolls and Legos.

Holiday shoppers expect to spend $875 on average on gifts, decorations, food and other key seasonal items.

Forty-seven percent of holiday shoppers say they use debit cards most often to pay for holiday items, compared with 35% saying they use credit cards. Five years ago, 37% said they used debit cards most often and 42% said they used credit cards. Those saying they mostly use cash (16%) has stayed the same. A majority of holiday shoppers (59%) are also using alternative payment methods such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Venmo, up from 54% last year. 

The survey asked 8,424 adult consumers about their holiday shopping plans. It was conducted Nov. 1-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Overall holiday spending is expected to reach record levels during November and December and will grow between 3% and 4% over 2022, totaling $957.3 billion to $966.6 billion, according to NRF's holiday forecast. By comparison, last year holiday sales totaled $929.5 billion.

As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF provides data on consumer behavior and spending for key periods such as holidays throughout the year.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

About Prosper Insights & Analytics
Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology, and retail industries. We provide global authoritative market information on U.S. and China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating a variety of data including economic, behavioral and attitudinal data, Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers’ future behavior to help identify market behaviors, optimize marketing efforts, and improve the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns.