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U.S. Consumers Plan Reduced Spending for Christmas

Slightly Fewer Consumers Choose Jewelry Gifts in 2013

Oct 16, 2013 7:11 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its annual Christmas-season consumer survey, which revealed that 91.7 percent of U.S. consumers celebrate a fourth-quarter holiday, with 94.8 percent celebrating Christmas, while 6.5 percent celebrate Hanukkah and 2.8 percent recognize Kwanzaa.

On average, consumers who celebrate expect to spend $536.85 on gifts, representing a 2.5 percent decline from 2012. The NRF found that overall spending intentions this year for gifts, decorations, greeting cards and flowers combined was 1.9 percent lower at $737.96 on average.

Of those who celebrate and expect to receive gifts, 23.3 percent selected jewelry or precious metal accessories as their choice, according to the survey. In recent years the figure was 24 percent in 2012, 22.8 percent in 2011, 23 percent in 2010 and 20.8 percent in 2009.

Fifty-nine percent of consumers stated that gift cards were their top gift of choice, while  51.2 percent selected clothing, 43.4 percent chose books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games and 36.1 percent picked electronics as their gift of choice.

The top destination for consumers this year was discount stores, with 64.7 percent of respondents planning to purchase items there, followed by department stores (56.3 percent), online (51.5 percent) and grocery stores (51.1 percent). The most important factor in deciding where to shop  this Christmas season is a sale and/or price discounts, according to 35.6 percent of consumers. The selection of merchandise comes second with 16.4 percent citing that factor as their most important motivator.

“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's president, 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.

“Retailers have 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 once again. A band-aid approach is not the answer. 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,” said Shay.

 

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Tags: average, christmas, Consumers, holiday, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, NRF, sales, spending
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