Holiday Shoppers to Spend 15% Less this Year

December 16, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Financial Services | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

Shoppers this year plan to spend 13%? less on holiday gifts compared with last year and nearly half of the 43% who plan to spend less overall say the economy has been very influential in their decision to cut back holiday spending, according to a recent holiday shopping study from Discover Financial Services.?

Despite these cutbacks, the annual Holiday Shopping Survey – which assesses consumer spending trends and gift intentions for the 2009 holiday season – found that 80% of those who plan to spend less this year say? it will not put a damper on their holiday spirit.

Toys, Music Books Top Gift Items

The survey also revealed the most popular gifts and spending categories. Similar to in years past, what people want to receive this holiday season is not always consistent with what others plan to buy. Toys top the list for what shoppers plan to buy, while home entertainment items, such as music, books, DVDs and consumer electronics, rank high for what people would like to receive this year.


Additional survey findings:

  • On average, shoppers plan to spend $723 on holiday gifts, compared with$831 in last year’s survey and $896 in the 2007 survey. Women plan to spend more than men – $742 versus $702, respectively.
  • 47% of shoppers plan to spend between $100 and $500 this holiday season while 25% anticipate spending anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
  • 43% of shoppers plan to spend less this holiday season. Of this group, 48% say that the economy has been very influential in their decision to do so.
  • 63% of shoppers say they are very concerned, concerned or somewhat concerned about their finances. This is down from 74% who said the same last year.
  • 66% plan to stay within their holiday shopping budget. This is down slightly from the 73% who said they would do so last year.

Holiday Shoppers Seek Deals, Rewards & Incentives

The survey also found that shoppers planning to spend less this holiday season will use several strategies to save money:

  • Some 62% say that they will limit purchases to items that have deep sales, such as 25% off.
  • Nearly six in 10 (57%)? say they will purchase less expensive brands, while an equal percentage will seek out special shopping incentives such as free shipping.
  • More than one-third (35%) say they will wait to shop in order to take advantage of last minute deals, 34%? say they will reduce the number of people they normally buy for, and 17%? will “regift.”
  • Nearly one in five shoppers (18%) reports that that extra credit card rewards will motivate them in making a holiday purchase.

Earlier this month, Discover Financial Services reported that its US Spending Monitor was flat in November 2009, rising only a half point to 86.3 (based out of 100) as a majority of consumers continued to be pessimistic about the economy and their personal finances. Overall, 59% of consumers rated the economy as poor, a 3-point increase from October. Nearlly half (49%) of consumers felt economic conditions were getting worse, a 3-point rise from October and second consecutive increase.

About the survey: The holiday shopping study was conducted by telephone with a total of 1,008 nationally representative adults (504 men and 504 women). The research was conducted from November 12-15, 2009 by Opinion Research Corporation.

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