Holiday Retail Sales Driven by Confident Shoppers with More to Spend and More to Buy, Synchrony Financial Study Finds

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As consumers deck their halls and hit the malls over the coming weeks,
they are doing so with more optimism about their personal finances,
according to an independent study1 by Synchrony Financial
(NYSE: SYF),
the nation’s largest provider of private label credit cards.2
Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed indicate they are more confident in
their financial situation than last year (37%), and 48% plan to start
their holiday shopping earlier this year.


Improved finances and larger gift lists are cited as reasons that 32% of
shoppers surveyed plan to spend more this season than last season, up
from 21% in 2014. Toys, games, electronics, apparel, shoes and gift
cards are key gift buying categories. At the same time, over half (53%)
of participants set a holiday budget and 76% report they always
comparison shop to ensure the best price.

While shoppers surveyed are more confident, deals remain essential for
holiday buying, and 39% report they expect to get the best deals on
Black Friday. Of participants who expect to spend more this season, 90%
intend to shop on special sale days. One-third of all respondents plan
to start shopping before Black Friday, 54% expect to make a purchase on
Black Friday, and 55% on Cyber Monday. Online research is an important
part of the purchase process, especially for higher ticket items.
Specifically, survey participants plan to purchase online more home
improvement and electronics items in the $500+ category.

In-store still dominates for holiday shopping, but it’s a multi-channel
experience. Holiday shopping online is considered easier by 70% of
shoppers surveyed, and the most important reasons for buying online
include free shipping, price and convenience. While online sales are
growing at approximately 10% year-over-year3, 51% of
participants report they typically find out about holiday sales from
their newspaper.

“In our survey, shoppers indicate they have more to spend and more to
buy this season, influenced by their underlying confidence about their
personal finances. This is similar to other insights we’ve gathered,
showing shopper optimism is balanced with a spending plan and sales
research to stretch dollars further and maximize discounts and rewards,”
said Sanjay Sidhwani, senior vice president of Marketing Analytics for
Synchrony Financial. “We are forecasting a 3.6% rise in holiday retail
sales based on analyzing multiple factors that influence holiday buying
across segments.”

More than 80% of shoppers surveyed intend to use credit to pay for at
least some of their holiday purchases. Rewards are an important factor
and the biggest differentiator for 40% of credit card users when
deciding which credit card to use.

The pre-holiday, online survey, conducted September 18-28 on behalf of
Synchrony Financial by RTi Research, examined the holiday shopping plans
and preferences of more than 1,400 participants, including 701 Synchrony
Bank cardholders and 700 random shoppers.

Sidhwani notes, “In addition to this year’s survey, this is the second
year Synchrony Financial has developed a holiday shopping forecast from
evaluating historical data, trends, and a number of indicators such as
unemployment, gas prices, private residential construction, and
non-traditional indicators.”

The Synchrony Financial Market Research team provides insights into
consumer attitudes and perceptions toward the retail brand, products and
platforms to improve customer satisfaction.

More information can be found at www.SynchronyFinancial.com.

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.2 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
300,000 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 (formerly GE Capital Retail Finance) 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
and twitter.com/SYFNews.

1Synchrony Financial Holiday Study, October 2015

2Source: Based on purchase volume and receivables. The Nilson
Report (April, 2015, Issue # 1062) – based on 2014 data.

3 https://www.census.gov/retail/ecommerce/historic_releases.html

Synchrony Financial defines retail holiday sales as November 1 –
December 31, and core holiday categories as: department stores, general
merchandise, clothing, specialty, non-store, home, and grocery; this
excludes retail sales at restaurants, gas stations, and motor vehicle
dealers.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements as
defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which
are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections.
Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “outlook,”
“expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,”
“targets,” “estimates,” “will,” “should,” “may” or words of similar
meaning, but these words are not the exclusive means of identifying
forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on
management’s current expectations and assumptions, and are subject to
inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are
difficult to predict. As a result, actual results could differ
materially from those indicated in these forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include
global political, economic, business, competitive, market, regulatory
and other factors and risks, such as: the impact of macroeconomic
conditions and whether industry trends we have identified develop as
anticipated; retaining existing partners and attracting new partners,
concentration of our platform revenue in a small number of Retail Card
partners, promotion and support of our products by our partners, and
financial performance of our partners; our need for additional
financing, higher borrowing costs and adverse financial market
conditions impacting our funding and liquidity, and any reduction in our
credit ratings; our ability to securitize our loans, occurrence of an
early amortization of our securitization facilities, loss of the right
to service or subservice our securitized loans, and lower payment rates
on our securitized loans; our reliance on dividends, distributions and
other payments from Synchrony Bank; our ability to grow our deposits in
the future; changes in market interest rates and the impact of any
margin compression; effectiveness of our risk management processes and
procedures, reliance on models which may be inaccurate or
misinterpreted, our ability to manage our credit risk, the sufficiency
of our allowance for loan losses and the accuracy of the assumptions or
estimates used in preparing our financial statements; our ability to
offset increases in our costs in retailer share arrangements;
competition in the consumer finance industry; our concentration in the
U.S. consumer credit market; our ability to successfully develop and
commercialize new or enhanced products and services; our ability to
realize the value of strategic investments; reductions in interchange
fees; fraudulent activity; cyber-attacks or other security breaches;
failure of third parties to provide various services that are important
to our operations; disruptions in the operations of our computer systems
and data centers; international risks and compliance and regulatory
risks and costs associated with international operations; alleged
infringement of intellectual property rights of others and our ability
to protect our intellectual property; litigation and regulatory actions;
damage to our reputation; our ability to attract, retain and motivate
key officers and employees; tax legislation initiatives or challenges to
our tax positions and state sales tax rules and regulations; significant
and extensive regulation, supervision, examination and enforcement of
our business by governmental authorities, the impact of the Dodd-Frank
Act and the impact of the CFPB’s regulation of our business; changes to
our methods of offering our CareCredit products; impact of capital
adequacy rules; restrictions that limit Synchrony Bank’s ability to pay
dividends; regulations relating to privacy, information security and
data protection; use of third-party vendors and ongoing third-party
business relationships; failure to comply with anti-money laundering and
anti-terrorism financing laws; effect of General Electric Capital
Corporation being subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board
both as a savings and loan holding company and as a systemically
important financial institution; GE’s inability to obtain savings and
loan holding company deregistration; any conditions of the Federal
Reserve Board approval required for us to continue to be a savings and
loan holding company; our need to establish and significantly expand
many aspects of our operations and infrastructure; loss of association
with GE’s strong brand and reputation; limited right to use the GE brand
name and logo and need to establish a new brand; terms of our
arrangements with GE may be more favorable than what we will be able to
obtain from unaffiliated third parties; obligations associated with
being a public company; our incremental cost of operating as a
standalone public company could be substantially more than anticipated;
GE could engage in businesses that compete with us, and conflicts of
interest may arise between us and GE; and failure caused by us of GE’s
distribution of our common stock to its stockholders in exchange for its
common stock to qualify for tax-free treatment, which may result in
significant tax liabilities to GE for which we may be required to
indemnify GE.

For the reasons described above, we caution you against relying on any
forward-looking statements, which should also be read in conjunction
with the other cautionary statements that are included in our public
filings. You should not consider any list of such factors to be an
exhaustive statement of all of the risks, uncertainties, or potentially
inaccurate assumptions that could cause our current expectations or
beliefs to change. Further, any forward-looking statement speaks only as
of the date on which it is made, and we undertake no obligation to
update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect events or
circumstances after the date on which the statement is made or to
reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as otherwise may
be required by law.

Tags: Retail, Holiday, Shopping, Consumer, Stores, Spending

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Contacts

For Synchrony Financial
(855) 791-8007
media.relations@synchronyfinancial.com