REPEATING/Synchrony Financial’s Annual Holiday Shopping Study Forecasts Strong Retail Sales Increase between 3.6% and 4.0%  with Holiday Shoppers Merry about Finances, Yet Motivated to Manage Budget

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Motivated to manage the stress of the season and their budgets, more
than half of holiday shoppers plan to start their gift buying earlier
this year to find deals and help spread out spending. Heading into the
holidays, 55% of survey respondents are merrier about money and report a
better household financial situation than last year, according to
Synchrony Financial’s Annual Holiday Shopping Study.1


Among shoppers who expect to spend more this season (34% vs. 32% last
year), 45% attribute it to improved personal finances and increasingly
longer lists – factors helping to drive a predicted holiday sales lift
of between 3.6% and 4.0%,2 estimates Synchrony
Financial (NYSE:SYF),
a premier consumer financial services company.

To make the most of their money, shoppers are seeking out sales (85%)
and setting a holiday budget (59% compared to 53% last year). Even with
favorable finances, the ability to manage their budget with extra
holiday expenses is cited as a key concern among survey
respondents.1

“Consumer confidence continues to improve and we see it shaping the
season in the form of increased sales,” said Bart Schaller, EVP and
chief marketing officer, Synchrony Financial. “However, caution
overrides personal optimism, and shoppers tell us they’re carefully
planning, pacing and prioritizing their holiday purchases to stay on
schedule and on budget.”

Holiday Countdown Spans Calendar

Although November and December mark the official holiday sales season,
half of survey respondents report budgeting all year for holiday
expenses, and 28% purchase presents throughout the year.1
Other ways shoppers are planning ahead and purchasing earlier in an
effort to ease budget pressures and enjoy the season include:

Purchase Planning and Payment Preferences

  • For those who haven’t completed their gift buying, 42% of respondents
    say they plan to begin shopping before Black Friday; 28% intend to
    purchase after Thanksgiving; and 67% plan to wrap up their shopping by
    mid-December.
  • Layaway is an option 30% of shoppers plan to use this season, up from
    25% last year.
  • Most shoppers (66%) say they intend to use credit to buy holiday
    gifts, seeking to earn rewards.
  • The majority (67%) of shoppers tell us they’re planning to give gift
    cards this holiday season, and 32% say they will buy more than last
    year. Gift cards, a new smartphone, money, and time with family top
    most adult wish lists. Depending on age, popular gifts for children
    range from toys such as Legos® and Barbie® to
    smartphones and gaming systems. More than 60% of survey participants
    agree they “still splurge” on holiday shopping.

‘Tis the Season for Technology

Whether finding the best price, searching creative gift ideas or parking
at the mall, digital tools help U.S. consumers save time and money
during one of the busiest seasons of the year. More insights from
research of online and in-store shopping preferences include:

  • Smartphones are now an important part of the purchase experience for
    both in-store and online shoppers. Synchrony found 82% of shoppers
    report they regularly comparison shop to get the best price. In
    addition to using their phones to research prices and products,
    shoppers find and redeem coupons and make purchases.3
  • More than half of holiday shoppers say the best deals are online, and
    37% report they plan to do more of their buying online this year due
    to the ability to shop any time, variety and convenience, competitive
    shipping offers and faster delivery options.1
  • While online sales represent a growing share of total spending, stores
    remain the primary purchase channel for the vast majority of holiday
    shoppers. More than 60% of gift buyers report holiday shopping is
    still more fun for them in the stores, and 23% appreciate the unique
    seasonal spirit offered in-store.1

Over 1,600 shoppers nationwide participated in the pre-holiday, online
survey conducted earlier this month on behalf of Synchrony
Financial. As part of its annual research, Synchrony Financial studied
survey responses and consumer input about seasonal shopping plans and
preferences and analyzed historical data, trends, and macroeconomic
indicators to develop its holiday shopping forecast.

Members of the media can contact media.relations@syf.com
for additional information and insights related to the 2016 Holiday
Study and other Synchrony Financial research.

About Synchrony Financial

Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF)
is one of the nation’s premier consumer financial services companies.
Our roots in consumer finance trace back to 1932, and today we are the
largest provider of private label credit cards in the United States
based on purchase volume and receivables.4 We provide a range
of credit products through programs we have established with a diverse
group of national and regional retailers, local merchants,
manufacturers, buying groups, industry associations and healthcare
service providers to help generate growth for our partners and offer
financial flexibility to our customers. Through our partners’ over
350,000 locations across the United States and Canada, and their
websites and mobile applications, we offer our customers a variety of
credit products to finance the purchase of goods and services. Synchrony
Financial offers private label and co-branded Dual Card
credit cards, promotional financing and installment lending, loyalty
programs and FDIC-insured savings products through Synchrony Bank. More
information can be found at www.synchronyfinancial.com,
facebook.com/SynchronyFinancial,
www.linkedin.com/company/synchrony-financial
and twitter.com/SYFNews.

Sources:
1 2016 Synchrony Financial Holiday Study,
conducted Sept. 30 – Oct. 3, 2016, by RTi Research.
2 Synchrony
Financial Analytics: anticipated November-December 2016 Holiday shopping
period increase based on analysis of macroeconomic variables and trends.
3
Synchrony Financial Sixth Annual Digital Study, July 2016.
4
The Nilson Report (May 2016, Issue # 1087) – based on 2015 data.

Editor Note: Graphic data representations are available.

©2016 Synchrony Bank/Synchrony Financial. All rights reserved.

Contacts

Synchrony Financial
Cristy Williams, 855-791-8007
media.relations@synchronyfinancial.com