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NRF survey details holiday spending plans


Washington, D.C. -- Most consumers will take a conservative approach with their holiday gift-giving budgets, according to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight. The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent last year. NRF forecasts that holiday sales will increase 4.1% to $586.1 billion.

According to the survey, consumers will spend a considerable amount of time in stores and online this year looking for the best deal. Nearly two-thirds (65.3%) will shop at discount stores and more than half (57.8%) will shop at department stores. Clothing stores (36.2%), electronics stores (31.8%) and specialty stores (16.7%) will be popular with holiday shoppers as well. Grocery stores will also see increased foot traffic – 51.8% will shop at a grocery store for holiday items, up from 48.8% last year.

In other survey findings:

  • Setting a new high, 51.8% will shop online for gifts and other items this holiday season, up from 46.7% last year. The average person will complete about 38.8% of their shopping on retailers’ and other companies websites, another survey high.

  • More than half (52.9%) of those who own smartphones and nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of those who own tablets plan to use their devices to research and purchase holiday gifts, décor, food items, and more.

  • Specifically, 32.9% of smartphone owners will research products and compare prices with their handheld, and another 24.9% will use their phone to look up retailer information, such as store location, hours and directions. Nearly two in 10 (17.6%) will use apps to research or purchase products and 15.0% plan to purchase items.

  • Tablet owners are even more likely to use their tablet to aid in their holiday purchases. Four in 10 (44.2%) will research products or compare prices, 19.8% will redeem coupons and 27.6% will look up a retailer’s location and/or store hours. Three in 10 (30.0%) will actually make a purchase with their tablet.

  • Gift cards top holiday wish lists: 59.8% of those polled say they’d like to receive gift cards this year, up from 57.7% last year and the most in the survey’s history. Half (49.1%) say they would like clothing, 45.7%said books, CD, DVDs, videos, or video games, and more than one-third (35.8%) are requesting electronics or computer-related accessories. Nearly one-quarter (24.0%) want jewelry, the most seen since 2008.

  • According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles and more. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66) and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.

  • Consistent with results seen the past 10 years, 41.4% of Americans say they will begin holiday shopping before Halloween. And 22.1% say they will begin in October, up from 20.3% last year. Another 39.0% will begin in November, 16.2% will begin in first two weeks of December and 3.5% will wait until the very last minute and shop in the last two weeks of December.

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