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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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