Features

What Consumers Will Spend Their Money On This Holiday Season
Holiday shoppers are estimated to spend $704.18 on gifts, decorations and other merchandise during the 2011 holiday season. Here’s a look at how they’ll be spending it. | By Lauren Covello

Holiday Shopping

The holidays may be upon us, but the still-chilly economic environment has consumers clinging on to their wallets. Holiday shoppers say they will spend an average of $704.18 this year – a 2.1% drop from the $718.98 they spent last year and a 6.7% drop from the $724.15 they spent in 2007, the year before the recession, according to data from the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

*All data comes from the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, which surveyed 8,585 shoppers from Oct. 4 through Oct. 11, 2011.

Shoppers at Macy's Store During Christmas

Gifts

Share of total holiday spending: $515.94, or 73.3%

Unsurprisingly, gifts eat up the biggest portion of consumers’ holiday budgets. Of course, the spending varies greatly by income: those making under $50,000 a year say they will spend an average of $356.54 on gifts, while those making over $50,000 a year say they will spend an average of $724.15.

gift cards, gift card

Gifts for Family

Of the $515.94 the average shopper plans to spend on gifts, $403.26 (or 78.2%) is expected to be spent on family members. The survey found that, for the fifth year in a row, most people ranked gift cards as No. 1 on their wish lists.

Dog Outside

Gifts for Everyone Else

Of the $515.94 they expect to spend on gifts, shoppers plan to spend $68.23 (13.2%) on friends. Coworkers seem to be in the doghouse – shoppers said they plan to spend only $21.06 (4.1%) on their colleagues, but $23.39 (4.5%) on pets, babysitters and others.

Woman Food Shopping

Food and candy

Share of total holiday spending: $96.75, or 13.7%

For many people, the holidays are a time to indulge – so it’s no wonder food and candy make up the second biggest spending category. Interestingly enough, survey respondents said they were more likely to make holiday purchases in a grocery store or supermarket than in either a clothing/accessories store or an electronics store. (In case you’re wondering, discount stores and department stores are at the top of the list.)

Christmas Ornaments Boot, 640x360

Decorations

Share of total holiday spending: $46.73, or 6.6%

Of the 62.2% of survey respondents who say the state of the economy will impact their holiday spending plans this year, 27% said they plan to use decorations from last year instead of buying new ones.

greeting cards

Greeting cards and postage

Share of total holiday spending: $26.52, or 3.8%

Buying cards is standard practice this time of year, but making cards and other gifts from scratch seems to be catching on. Of the 62.2% of surveyed shoppers who said they have factored the state of the economy into their holiday plans, 13.7% of said they will making more gifts for their family and friends this year.

woman holding poinsettia christmas flower

Flowers

Share of total holiday spending: $18.23, or 2.6%

At $18.23, buying poinsettias and other plants is the smallest piece of consumers’ holiday budget. According to the survey, men expect to spend $21.90 in this category, while women expect to spend $14.75.

 

What Consumers Will Spend Their Money On This Holiday Season

Holiday shoppers are estimated to spend $704.18 on gifts, decorations and other merchandise during the 2011 holiday season. Here’s a look at how they’ll be spending it. | By Lauren Covello

More From Our Sponsors