Savvier shoppers will be spending more on non-gift items for themselves and family
“The holiday creep” does not refer to Ebeneezer Scrooge, It refers to retailers getting earlier and earlier jumps on the holiday shopping season. It’s not even Halloween, and already it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But for retailers in a down economy, the year’s busiest shopping season can’t come soon enough, even if the holiday shopping forecast is mild.
The National Retail Federation ‘s annual survey, which this year polled 8,585 consumers nationwide earlier this month, predicts that shoppers on average will spend $704 this year on holiday gifts and decorations. That’s 2 percent less than last year, but the trade organization is projecting shoppers will spend near 3 percent more during November and December than they did last year.
More than half of this amount ($403.26) will be spent on children, parents and other family members. Shoppers, according to the survey, will also spend on average $68 on friends and $21 on co-workers.
They will, however, be spending more on non-gift sale items for themselves and their families, the survey found. Shoppers look to spend on average $130.43—an increase of 16 percent over last year--on clothes, electronics, home goods, and other items on which they may have cut back over the year.
Just over 62 percent of Americans say the U.S. economy will affect their holiday shopping plans. Accordingly, shoppers are adopting savvier strategies to stretch their holiday shopping budget. Nearly six in 10 (59.9 percent) plan to take advantage of sales and discounts. Discount stores are the most popular shopping destination (66.1 percent), followed by department stores (56.9 percent, up from 54.5 percent in 2010).
More will be shopping online (46.7 percent compared to 38.3 percent seven years ago) while 70.5 percent of tablet computer owners and 52.6 percent of smartphone users plan to use these devices to research prices and/or buy merchandise.
Shoppers seem eager to get to their shopping lists. Nearly 40 of respondents don’t even wait for Halloween to start their holiday shopping, according to the survey. Another 40 percent plan to start in November, while 17 percent will hit the stores the first two weeks of December. About 4 percent will procrastinate until the last two weeks of December.
Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you intend to spend more or less this year? What are some of your favorite holiday shopping strategies? To paraphrase the classic Christmas song: Let us know, let us know, let us know.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.