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Consumers Trim Holiday Gift Budgets
Oct 24, 2013
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The average consumer in the United States plans on spending 2% less in the 2013 holiday season than they spent in the 2012 season, according to National retail Association survey.

NRF said consumers face ongoing economic uncertainty--and they are used to doing more with less.

According to NRF's holiday consumer spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, decor, greeting cards and more, 2% less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year.* NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion.**

"Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months."

He added that retailers urged Congress and the Administration to seek a long-term solution for funding the government and extending the debt ceiling instead of kicking the can down the road again. "Americans deserve to feel good about spending their hard-earned money on gifts for others, and this holiday season it's evident some could second-guess their spending," continued Shay.

NRF's survey, for the first time, asked holiday shoppers if political gridlock in Washington would affect their holiday spending plans. The responses: 29% of respondents said the fiscal impasse would somewhat or very likely affect their spending plans. In addition, 32.7% of those in the 55-64 age range--the most heavily affected segment--said Washington gridlock was somewhat or very likely to affect their spending.

Asked about the economy overall and how it would impact their spending plans:
* 51.0% said the economy would impact how they spend.
* 79.5% plan to spend less overall.

Prosper Insights Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow said consumers have had years of practice at frugal spending. "Retailers can expect to see practical and refined attitudes from their customers this holiday season as families make thoughtful decisions about what they need to buy and what they can pass on," she said.

Shop.org, NRF's digital division, forecasts that online holiday sales will grow between 13% and 15% to be as high as $82 billion.

What consumer want for Christmas:

* 59.4% of Americans say they'd most like to receive gift cards
* 51.2% would like to receive clothing and clothing accessories
* 36.1% want electronics
* 23.3% want jewelry
* 20.8% want home decor or home-related furnishings

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