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Report: Consumers to shop earlier and spend more this holiday season


New York -- With a late Thanksgiving and the shortest holiday shopping season in years, consumers report they are starting their holiday shopping sooner and spending more this year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research. The report is more optimistic than some other holiday forecasts.

Consumers also say they expect to spend $1,260, up $400 from last year. Looking for the best deals, more than a quarter of Americans say they have already started holiday shopping and will finish before Dec.1 (27% versus 24% in 2012). Others expect to finish a week before Christmas (37% versus 33% in 2012).

“We’re seeing an increased intent to spend among consumers as we head into the critical holiday shopping season, suggesting strong enthusiasm for hitting the aisles this year,” said David Rabkin, senior VP of U.S. consumer lending products, American Express. “This is good news for retailers who might be concerned that the shorter shopping season will impact their sales.”

The report finds Cyber Monday is beating out Black Friday as the most popular shopping day, with more consumers (55% versus 39% in 2012) planning to shop the virtual blowout sales day instead of fighting crowds the day after Thanksgiving (52% versus 45% in 2012).

Department stores and large electronic stores look to be on the upswing this year. According to the report, the top shopping destinations will be superstores (66% versus 68% in 2012); department stores (62%, up from 48% in 2012); large electronic stores (45% , up from 36%); and small businesses (36%, up from 24%)

Couponing continues to be a go-to strategy, with almost half (47%) of consumers planning to use coupons or promotions for holiday shopping. Whether clipping or clicking, most consumers (82%) say they’ll opt for a hybrid approach to saving, shopping both in-store and online.

On the social front, 66% plan to take advantage of offers via social media sites, up from 60% last year. When it comes to discounts, consumers “like” Facebook as the most popular social resource (49% versus 46% in 2012), followed by Groupon (43%, up significantly from 27% last year), Pinterest (20%, up from 10%) and Twitter (20%, up from 15%).

Other key findings from the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker include:

  • More than half (58%) of Black Friday shoppers plan to shop between 12am and 7am that day, similar to last year.

  • On average, Black Friday shoppers will splurge 53% more this year, spending $611 on average (up significantly from $398 in 2012). Overall, shoppers will dig deeper into their wallets, as those who plan to spend more than $1,000 on Black Friday has more than doubled since last year (24%). Just under a third (30%) plan to spend between $500 and $999.

  • Consumers will multitask by using mobile devices to shop (51%, up from 32% last year), browse for gift ideas (25%, up from 18%) and compare prices with barcode scanning apps (20%, up from 12%).

For the full report, click here.

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