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NRF survey says consumers will spend more on gifts this year

U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday-related shopping, a slight rise from last year's $681.83, according to the National Retail Federation's 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Most gift-givers will spend the largest portion of their budget buying gifts for family ($393.55) and friends ($71.45), followed by co-workers ($18.26) and others ($34.82).

Total spending on gifts ($518.08) is expected to rise 2.1% from last year, which is in line with NRF's 2010 holiday forecast. Americans will also spend an average of $41.51 on decorations, $26.10 on greeting cards and postage, $86.32 on candy and food, and $16.86 on flowers.

"Consumers will still shop with the economy in the back of their minds, but we're starting to see shoppers take baby steps toward a new normal," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "As Americans open up their wallets for more discretionary gifts like jewelry or take advantage of sales to buy for themselves, retailers will begin to truly believe that the worst may be behind them."

According to the survey, 61.7% of shoppers say the economy will impact their spending, down from last year's 65.3%. Many shoppers say they will compensate by spending less (81.5%), comparison shopping online (30.9%) or with newspapers and circulars (28.1%), shopping for sales (54.1%) or using more coupons (40.6%). The NRF also says that although the economy continues to impact shoppers, a number of survey results indicate that shoppers may be ready to emerge from their shells this holiday season.

The number of people who say they will make a holiday purchase from a discounter dropped from 70.1% last year to 65.1% this year. Popular holiday shopping destinations will include department stores (54.5%), grocery stores (46.7%), the Internet (43.9%) and clothing stores (33.6%).

According to the survey, over one-fourth of American adults with a smartphone (26.8%) will use these devices to research or make holiday purchases, and that number jumps to 45% among young adults 18-24.

The number of people who plan to take advantage of holiday sales to make non-gift purchases for themselves will rise 8% this year (52.9% in '09 to 57.1% this year), with the average holiday shopper spending $107.50 on themselves, up from $101.37 last year.

Though the holiday season won't kick off for many retailers until at least Nov. 1, a sizeable number of shoppers are already planning ahead. According to the survey, 37.2% of Americans will begin holiday shopping by Halloween. Women are the most likely to begin shopping by the end of October (42.1%) while young adults 18-24 are among the least likely (27.7%).

The NRF 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the winter holidays. The survey polled 8,767 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch Oct. 5-12, 2010. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0%.

 

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