NEW YORK-U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts during the coming holiday season, up 11 percent over their intended spending during last year’s holidays, according to the annual holiday shopping survey by research firm Accenture.
The survey also found that 20 percent of consumers plan to spend more on gifts this year, compared to 14 percent who responded likewise in last year’s survey. Although more consumers said they were more likely to overspend their holiday budgets, holiday shoppers will also be focused on discounts, with 94 percent saying discounts will be important in their holiday purchase decisions, up from 84 percent last year.
“The average dollar spend is trending up, and we are seeing a consumer mindset shifting from ‘cautious’ to ‘sensible,’ which is good news for retailers,” said Chris Donnelly, global managing director of Accenture’s retail practice.
In addition, discount stores ranked at the top as shopping destinations for 76 percent of holiday shoppers. Fifty percent of shoppers said they will shop at online-only retailers, while 35 percent plan on shopping at department stores.
Zeroing in on online shoppers, the survey found that 47 percent of shoppers will make their purchases by way of personal computers and laptops. The percentage of shoppers who plan on purchases by way of tablets rose from 15 percent last year to 19 percent this year, and the ratio of those planning on purchasing by way of smart phones increased from 14 percent to 18 percent.
In addition, 33 percent of those shopping by smart phone said they would use it to compare prices inside the store, up from 19 percent last year. Sixty-three percent said they are likely to “showroom” (going into a physical store to see a product and then searching online for a better price) this holiday season, up from 56 percent in 2012.
The survey also found that the growing trend of retailers opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day means that this event is becoming ingrained as a holiday tradition. “Thanksgiving Day shopping is now a firm fixture in the holiday season,” Donnelly said. “We will see more stores opening early on that day in order to capture their share of consumer spending.”