And the No. 1 Holiday Shopping Retailer Is…

GOBankingRates' new survey reveals 2017 holiday shopping trends.

This holiday season, consumers are expected to open their wallets wider. The National Retail Federation’s annual holiday spending survey found that shoppers expect to spend an average of $967.13, compared to $935.58 in 2016. So, where will consumers spend their hard-earned paychecks?

GOBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 adults to find out where they plan to do most of their Christmas present shopping. Respondents could choose from the following options and select all that applied:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • Costco or similar warehouse club
  • Macy’s or similar department store
  • Other

Find out how holiday shopping trends vary by state, generation and gender. Where consumers spend their money — and how many paychecks they plan to spend on presents — might surprise you.


Amazon Is Americans’ Preferred Holiday Shopping Retailer

Our survey results show that Amazon will be the most popular retailer by far this holiday season. More than 48 percent of respondents said they will do most of their gift shopping at this major online retailer.

Amazon’s popularity among holiday shoppers doesn’t surprise DealCrunch online shopping expert Brent Shelton.

“Amazon has really solidified the assurance of shipping and returns with consumers, and they’re loyal to a fault,” he said. “And Amazon users are satisfied with pricing and their ability to find what they need.”

Why Everyone Shops at Amazon: 21 Items That Are Cheaper on Amazon

Big-box retailers will be the second-most popular Christmas shopping stores. The survey found that 28 percent of respondents plan to do most of their holiday shopping at Walmart, and 22 percent will do the bulk of their gift buying at Target.

“I am not surprised to see that big-box retailers like Target and Walmart are so popular for holiday shopping,” said Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at TrueTrae. “Their stores provide a combination of great value, broad selection and holiday spirit that I think appeals to people shopping for the holidays. And now that their online selection is more robust, I’d expect them to hold, or perhaps increase, their position in future surveys.”

Warehouse clubs and department stores, on the other hand, won’t be as popular. About 12 percent of respondents plan to do most of their shopping at Costco or a warehouse club. Only 11 percent will use Macy’s or other department stores most for their Christmas present shopping, and an equal percentage name Best Buy as their go-to holiday shopping retailer.

Survey respondents also had the opportunity to include answers that were not on the list. Fewer than 1 percent of respondents said they planned to shop at eBay, GameStop, local stores, or didn’t know where they would be buying gifts.

Amazon Dominates in All But 7 States

Amazon will be the go-to holiday retailer in most states. At 53 percent, North Dakota has the highest percentage of respondents who plan to do most of their holiday shopping on Amazon, followed by 46 percent in Oregon.

However, Walmart edges Amazon out in seven states. Walmart is by far the most popular holiday retailer in Arkansas, where it is headquartered, and about 42 percent of respondents plan to do most of their shopping there.

Wests Virginia has the second-highest percentage of respondents — 40 percent — who plan to buy most of their holiday gifts at Walmart. This retailer known for its everyday low prices also is the top choice for Christmas present shopping in Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.

Men and Women Prefer Different Stores

In line with the overall results, Amazon will be the most popular Christmas shopping website for both women and men — with 49 percent and 47 percent, respectively, naming it as the retailer where they’ll do most of their gift buying. However, there’s a bigger divide between women and men when it comes to the other retailers.

Men are more likely than women to say they’ll shop at Best Buy or a warehouse club — a finding that doesn’t surprise Shelton.

“Best Buy has long been a favorite holiday destination for men,” he said. The survey found that 14 percent of men versus about 8 percent of women plan to do most of their shopping at Best Buy.

Women, on the other hand, are much more likely than men to say they’ll shop at Target and Walmart and slightly more likely to shop at Macy’s or a department store. Regina Conway, a savings expert with coupon and deal site Slickdeals, said these results line up with what Slickdeals sees from its users.

“When we look at data in the most recent months, more than two times the number of women over men are looking for Macy’s coupon codes on our site,” she said. Women also make up a higher percentage of Target and Walmart coupon seekers on Slickdeals, while Best Buy and Costco coupon seekers are more likely to be men, she said.

Wherever you do your shopping, make sure to sign up for the loyalty program to get the best deals.

Younger Shoppers Prefer Big-Box Retailers

You might think that young millennials would be more likely to prefer Christmas shopping websites such as Amazon. But the 18- to 24-year-old age group has the smallest percentage of respondents who named Amazon as the retailer where they’ll do most of their shopping — 42 percent, followed by 43 percent of adults 65 and older.

However, a total of 55 percent of young millennials will head to either Walmart or Target for holiday gift buying. In fact, adults ages 18 to 24 had the highest percentage of respondents of any age group who said they will do most of their holiday shopping at Target.

“Target has many qualities that appeal to millennials — style, convenience and value — so I would expect it to be a popular destination for the millennial consumer,” Bodge said. If every item is tempting you, follow these strategies when shopping at Target to avoid buying the whole store.

Adults 35 to 44 years old are the most likely of any age group to say they’ll shop at Amazon, with 53 percent naming this retailer as their top choice for holiday gift buying. Adults 55 to 64 years old are most likely of any age group to say they’ll shop at Macy’s or a department store. They’re also most likely to say they’ll do most of their gift buying at Walmart.

“Walmart is less trendy, so it could feel less intimidating to older shoppers,” Bodge said.

Related: 25 Secret Ways to Save at Target

What to Know This Holiday Shopping Season

Although the top three most popular retailers this holiday shopping season are known for their low prices, shoppers still need to take steps to avoid holiday overspending. Start by figuring out what you can afford to spend, then create a gift list based on that amount.

“After you’ve made shopping lists — which also help you avoid impulse buying — do your research,” Shelton said. “Utilize smart resources that aggregate deals and coupons to help you vet out the best value for the items on your list. These resources analyze deals every day, often providing these values upfront — saving you both money and time.”

You also can save money on holiday shopping by stocking up on discounted gift cards from sites such as Raise and CardCash, Conway said.

“Not only can you give a discounted gift card as a gift, you can also use it as your currency to shop,” she said. For example, if you set up an account with Raise, you can get electronic gift cards almost instantly and use them to make online purchases.

If you plan to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, be aware that not all Black Friday sales are worth it.

“Not every deal advertised is actually a good value,” Conway said. To pinpoint the ones that are worthwhile, use a site such as Slickdeals, which has10 million community members finding, sharing and voting on the best deals daily, she said. And you can set up deal alerts to be notified when a deal that matches your parameters is posted on Slickdeals.

Up Next: 50 Easy Ways to Save for Holiday Shopping

Methodology: GOBankingRates posed the following question to 5,028 respondents: “Which of the following retailers do you plan to use most for your holiday gift shopping in 2017?” Respondents could choose from the following list of answers and select more than one: 1) Amazon 2) Best Buy 3) Costco or similar warehouse club 4) Macy’s or similar department store 5) Target 6) Walmart 7) Other. For “Other,” respondents could fill in their own answers. None, eBay, Online, Local Stores, None of the Above, Don’t Know and GameStop were all selected by fewer than 1 percent of respondents. Responses were collected through a Google Consumer Survey conducted Oct. 14-17, 2017, and responses are representative of the U.S. online population. The study has a 4.3 percent margin of error.