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Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend Less

Holiday shoppers plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, cond

Holiday shoppers plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch.

Despite this finding, the NRF is still forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during the months of November and December to $465.6 billion.

The survey also found that 59.9 percent of holiday shoppers say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families, spending approximately $130.43 on discounted apparel, electronics, home goods and other items, up from $112.20 last year.

Department stores with unique private-label offerings will see an increase in traffic over last year (56.9 percent vs. 54.5percent last year); as will clothing or accessory stores (35.2 percent vs. 33.6 percent), drug stores (21.1 percent vs. 18.9 percent), and grocery stores and supermarkets (48.8 percent vs. 46.7 percent). Most shoppers plan to hit discount stores (66.1 percent vs. 65.1 percent).

Sales or price discounts will be the deciding factor for most shoppers (41.6 percent), but customer service (6.0 percent vs. 5.3 percent) and quality of merchandise (14.6 percent vs. 12.7 percent) are more important this year than last.

“When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers, who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer. “Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty, or stellar customer service.”

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