Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Holiday spending expected to reach $586.1 billion
Consumerism trends suggest cautious optimism in American economy.
American shoppers are projected to spend up to $586.1 billion on gifts, decorations and additional holiday items this year, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation -– the world's largest retail trade association.
The organization estimates that the average consumer will spend $749.51 this year and that up to 147 million people will shop either online or at stores during the three-day weekend following Thanksgiving. Holiday sales are expected to increase by four percent, with the largest portion of sales (56 percent) going toward gifts for family members. The next highest spending category is food (13 percent) according to the survey, which polled 8.899 people.
"We’ve seen this pattern of cautious optimism all year and despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate with friends and family,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a company release. “As the most promotional time of the year, retailers will continue to look for ways to stand out, specifically with attractive deals on toys, electronics and apparel, even well before the ‘official’ start of the holiday shopping season –- Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”
Shop.org, a division of the NRF, projects online sales will grow 12 percent compared to last holiday season and reach as much as $96 billion. That increase continues a trend that saw e-commerce totals rise 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. More than half of consumers are expected to shop online at some point this year.
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