Explore retail trends with your students

This holiday season will have consumers shopping sooner and spending more, according to NRF
By Lottie Watts
Published Nov 22, 2021

Retail is an industry where people can build great careers, and data from the National Retail Federation helps educators and students understand the effect of retail on the overall economy and explore fascinating consumer behavior and trends.

In a recent forecast, NRF says that holiday sales during November and December will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

“The outlook for the holiday season looks very bright,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says. “The unusual and beneficial position we find ourselves in is that households have increased spending vigorously throughout most of 2021 and remain with plenty of holiday purchasing power.”

And 2021 will look like a more traditional holiday experience. While ecommerce will still be key, households are likely to return to more in-store shopping, according to NRF.

The 2021 NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics October Consumer Holiday Survey says that consumers plan to spend nearly $1,000 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year,

“We’re expecting another record-breaking holiday season this year and Thanksgiving weekend will play a major role as it always has,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says. “Nonetheless, consumers are starting earlier than ever to be sure they can get what they want, when they want it, at a price they want to pay.”

NRF tracks spending and celebration plans for American holidays, and these insights that retail professionals rely on to understand trends are also great for educators to use with their students.

It’s simple to include the NRF “Holiday 2021 By The Numbers” slideshow to your lessons – you can present from this page or download the slides.

Some ideas on how to use this resource with your students:

  • Ask students to predict what they think the top gift or top toy will be. Reveal what NRF found, and then discuss how retailers might use this information as they select products.
  • Provide examples of how to apply quality customer service skills as consumers start to shop earlier than in previous years.
  • Have students work in teams to create a visual merchandising plan to drive sales for one of the items on the wish list for consumers for holiday 2021.

Learn more about programs and resources from the NRF Foundation – including its industry-recognized RISE Up training and credentials – that help people of all backgrounds build life-changing careers.

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