The National Retail Federation's Holiday Consumer Spending Survey expects the average spending per consumer this year will be $805.65, up from $802.45 last year. That figure, the highest in the survey's 14-year history, includes food, gifts, decorations, and other items. Spending on gifts alone is expected to reach a survey high of $462.95, up from $458.75 last year. Nearly six in 10 respondents (58.8%) would like to receive a gift card, the ninth year in a row that topped the list. Also for the 14th year, about 40% of respondents said they start their shopping before Halloween. The survey also found that 46% of consumers plan to purchase holiday goods online, up from 44.4% last year. More than half (55.9%) plan to shop for gifts at discount stores, 44.9% will shop at department stores, and 52.9% will purchase gifts online. Of those who purchase gifts online, 46.5% say they will buy online but pick up in store or have the item shipped to the store. Millennials will most often take advantage of same-day shipping, at 16.7% of 18-to 24-year-olds and 15.9% of 25- to 34-year-olds. More than half (55.8%) of respondents will purchase items for themselves, totaling $131.59, up from $126.37 last year. And almost three-quarters (73.1%) said price discounts are the most important factor for gift purchasing while 60.7% said merchandise quality is key. Read also: Amazon to hire 100,000 U.S. workers to handle holiday orders
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