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NRF's Intentions Survey Finds 25% Desire Jewelry or Precious Metals Gift

Oct 20, 2014 2:32 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... U.S. consumers who purchase gifts during the 2014 Christmas season anticipate spending an average of $596.53, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual holiday intentions survey. The anticipated figure represented an increase of 6.9 percent from actual gift spending in 2014,  although the average is dramatically different by income segment. The NRF noted that U.S. consumers who earn less than $50,000 per year expect to spend $368.97 holiday gifts this year, while those earning more than $50,000 plan to spend $797.68, on average. Nearly 57 percent of U.S. consumers also plan to take advantage of retail sales or discounts during the Christmas season to make a self- or non-gift purchase with the average anticipated amount down 6 percent year on year to  $126.66, according to the NRF.

The most popular gift item that consumers hope to receive  is a gift card this year, as noted by 62 percent of those surveyed. Nonetheless, 24.8 percent said that jewelry or a precious metal accessory gift was on their wish list for 2014, a percentage that is on the higher side of the 10-year trend and the best since 2006 when 26 percent selected the jewelry category. Other popular wish list gifts were clothing (52.5 percent), consumer electronics (34.6 percent), books, CDs, DVDs, videos or games (43.1 percent) and items for the home (22.9 percent).

The NRF noted that 44 percent of shoppers expect to purchase items online, for which the NRF urged retailers to be well prepared. NRF's president, Matthew Shay, said,  “While not completely throwing caution to the wind, Americans’ frugal spending habits will still be visible this holiday season as they continue to rely on discounts and sales and comparison shop. Consumers will put retailers to the test when it comes to the product mix and value companies can offer today’s shopper who is focused on much more than just price.”

The NRF observed that consumers are eager to shop online for gifts and other needs, looking for great prices and value with 61.9 percent visiting discount stores, 59.7 percent browsing department stores and 51.2 percent shopping grocery stores.  The survey found 55.7 percent of smartphone owners will use their device in some fashion this year to shop, as 35.8 percent specifically plan to research  products/prices, 23.9 percent will redeem coupons through the device and 19.1 percent will use it to  purchase items on their shopping list, according to results.

While 40.4 percent of U.S. consumers have already begun Christmas-season shopping, the NRF noted that an additional 40.9 percent anticipate starting their gift buying in November, while 15.5 percent will hold out until early December. Shoppers also stated, retailers that win their business have likely succeeded in creating easy-to-use mobile websites, offer free shipping and/or shipping promotions, employ helpful and knowledgeable customer service and offer  convenient locations, low prices and discounts.

According to the survey, 60.9 percent of shoppers cited quality of merchandise and 59.4 percent said selection of merchandise were both important factors in making a purchasing decision.

Prosper Insights & Analytics conducted the survey on behalf of the NRF. The group's   principal analyst, Pam Goodfellow, said, “Even with expectations for increased spending this year, smart shopping strategies will be very important to those celebrating the holidays. Overall, consumers feel better about where they stand compared to a year ago and  could find themselves stretching their dollars to give their loved ones a holiday season to remember. Retailers, however, should still expect to see high demand for sales, coupons and other promotions as shoppers focus on ‘what’s in it for them’.”

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Tags: gift, holiday, Jeff Miller, Jewelry, NRF, retail, spending
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