n this Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012, file photo, shoppers stand in line outside a Best Buy department store before the store's opening at midnight. Thanksgiving is slowly becoming just another shopping day as at least a dozen major retailers are planing to open Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
In this Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, file photo, April Taylor of Upper Marlboro, Md., left, buys items from groceries to Christmas presents with her son Jarhon Taylor, right, on opening day of a new Wal-Mart on Georgia Avenue in Northwest Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
 (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Bruce Horowitz, USA TODAY

(USA Today)—The minority consumer may be the unlikely hero of holiday 2014.

With the economy mostly back on its feet thank to an improving economy, job gains and lower gas prices, minority consumers — Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans — will boost their holiday purchases more than the general population this Christmas, and be a central driver of seasonal spending, according to an eye-opening 2014 Holiday Sales Forecast that the research specialist, Nielsen, shared exclusively with USA TODAY.

While the overall population says it will spend about 10% more on holidays gifts this year than last year, African Americans say they plan to spend 17% more, and both Asian Americans and Hispanics says they plan to spend 13% more, says the national study of 25,000 demographically-representative households conducted in September. The survey also found that middle income consumers — with household income under $50,000 — say they will spend an average 12% more than last year on holiday items vs. 8% more for consumers with household incomes exceeding $50,000.

“This is a wake-up call,” says James Russo, vice president of consumer insights at Nielsen. “Holiday is just a reflection of what’s happening across the larger consumer retail landscape. This will continue well beyond the holiday season.”



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