Holiday Spending Unchanged From '99, Survey Finds

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A new poll taken by marketing research firm Maritz Marketing Research Inc. predicts no growth in holiday spending this year.

The average American will spend $830 on holiday gifts this year, which is virtually unchanged compared with 1999 spending levels, the latest Maritz poll revealed.

Men will spend more money than women and will spend much more per gift. An average man will spend $874 on 17 gifts, or about $51 per gift. Women estimate they will spend a total of $783 on 24 gifts, a little less than $33 per gift, according to the poll.

Shoppers also will spend their money in different places.

Shopping at mall stores like Express, Lerner or The Limited have taken the lead over department stores like Lord & Taylor and Dillard's as America's favorite gift-buying venues.

About 71 percent of shoppers reported they would shop at mall stores, compared with the 69 percent who said they would shop at department stores. It is the first time in three years that department stores are not the No. 1 choice, Maritz reported.

Discount-store shoppers also have fallen off.

Less than 60 percent of shoppers said they would shop for gifts at discount stores. This represents a 13 percent decrease compared with 1999 numbers and drops discounters to third place on the "most popular places to shop" list that Maritz compiled from poll numbers.

About 38 percent of shoppers surveyed plan to spend at specialty shops and boutiques. They are tied for fourth place in popularity.

Online retailers can expect more holiday cheer than brick-and-mortar retailers, Maritz reported.

The number of shoppers this year is up from 13 percent in 1999 to 20 percent this year. Since 1998, when Maritz first started tracking Internet use for holiday shopping, the number of users has risen 150 percent.

Online shoppers tend to be between the ages of 25 and 44 and have household incomes of $55,000 or more. Equal numbers of men and women will shop online, Maritz reported.

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