Holiday shoppers to spend less on gifts, more on themselves: NRF

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Shoppers will spend less money on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this year, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2011 "Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey." Shoppers will spend an average of $704.18 this holiday season, a $14 decrease compared with last year, according to the survey.  

The NRF previously forecasted holiday retail sales of $465.6 billion, a 2.8% increase compared with November and December 2010. Kathy Grannis, director of media relations at the NRF, said the 2.8% increase will hold because the "Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" revealed that consumers planned to increase what they spend on themselves this season.

“It's easy for consumers to set a budget when it comes to gift-giving,” said Grannis. “But the hard part is passing up a discounted item you're in need of. The holiday season is the best time to buy what you need because of the expected deals.”

The survey found that the average person will spend approximately $130.43 this holiday season to take advantage of sales and discounts on apparel, electronics, home goods and other items for themselves or a family member, up from $112.20 last year.

“Obviously, the last couple months have been very trying for consumers,” Grannis said. “Any expert would be crazy to say they were expecting outstanding growth this holiday season.”

To find value, consumers will look online.

Forty-seven percent of consumers will seek out holiday deals on the Internet this year, an increase of three percentage points compared with last year, according to the survey. The average holiday shopper plans to do 36% of his or her shopping online, while adults aged 25-34 will complete 43.7% of their holiday shopping online.

Fifty-three percent of consumers who own a smartphone said they will use their device to assist with holiday shopping. Thirty-one percent said they will research products and/or compare prices with their smartphone, while 14.1% said they will purchase products.

Seventy-one percent of tablet owners plan to research and shop using their device during the holiday season. Fifty-two percent of consumers with tablets will research products and/or compare prices, and 34.8% plan to make a purchase on their device.

“Mobile and online shopping provide a completely different level of convenience for holiday shoppers,” said Grannis. “For some it's a great way to not only comparison shop and find the best deal, but it's a great way to keep a set budget.”

The NRF 2011 "Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey" polled 8,585 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch from Oct. 4-11 of this year.

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