NRF: Shoppers to Remain Conservative With 2012 Holiday Gift Budgets

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National Retail Federation's 2012 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey

Consumers are preparing for a holly, jolly holiday season, although it’s evident that most will take a conservative approach with their gift-giving budgets. The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and more, according to the National Retail Federation's holiday consumer-spending survey conducted by BIGinsight.

That's up slightly from the $740.57 that the average holiday shopper actually spent last year.

“We’ve seen this pattern of cautious optimism all year and despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate with friends and family,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

The survey reports that the average person plans to spend $421.82 toward gifts for family members, including children, parents, aunts, uncles and others.

Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers and $28.13 on others such as pets and community members, according to the survey.

“More than half of Americans this holiday season will feel the impact of the economy and will compensate by doing what they’ve been doing for several years—looking for ways to cut any corners, comparative-shop online and in stores more often, and even planning to travel less or not at all,” adds Shay.

Other noteworthy data:

  • Almost one of every three consumers surveyed said that because of the economy they will comparative-shop online more often this holiday season.
  • More than half—the highest in the annual survey—indicated that they will shop online for gifts and other items.
  • Nearly six of every 10 shoppers surveyed noted that they plan to spend an average of $139.92 on “self gifting.”

What drives consumers' holiday-shopping decisions to shop at a particular retailer? For some, it was the selection and availability of merchandise; for others, it was a no-hassle return policy. However, for most, it was the option of sales and discounts.

In addition, more than half of smartphone owners and nearly two-thirds of tablet owners stated that they intend to use their devices to research and purchase products.

[Image courtesy of Jupiterimages/Thinkstock]