U.S. Households’ Planned Holiday Spending Is Up

Presenting a snapshot of U.S. consumers’ attitudes toward their personal financial situations, The Conference Board reports that shoppers intend to spend approximately $675 on gifts this holiday season. Its survey results indicate an increase over last year’s spending estimate of $627. The study also found that despite a willingness to spend generously, consumers say they are expecting steep discounts—more than a third of respondents say they expect, at a minimum, to purchase half their gifts at a discount.

“This holiday season has all the makings of a good one,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers are gearing up for the holidays, with signs indicating they will not rein in their spending. Consumer confidence is at historically strong levels, the job market remains solid and the economy is in a record-breaking year of expansion. Retailers should expect strong demand this season. However, as we have come to expect, consumers will be discerning when spending. Most will expect bargains, comparison shop and wait up to the last minute for steep discounts. Online merchants are poised to see increased traffic, as the percentage of consumers clicking and shipping continues to grow.”

Further results from the survey show that approximately 10 percent of consumers plan to spend more this year on holiday gifts. The percent who plan to spend the same as last year increased from about 65 percent to 67 percent. Also, a greater number of consumers will be shopping online, a growing trend for the past few years. Now, more than 41 percent of consumers are planning to make at least half of their purchases online.

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