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Survey: Shoppers Seek Bargains for Holiday Shopping

Purchase, N.Y. Americans plan to shop smarter this year by using a variety of cost-saving strategies while spending most on practical gifts, such as gift certificates and gift cards, according to the MasterCard Worldwide 2008 Holiday Shopping Survey.

The survey found that the most popular way Americans plan to seek out bargains is by shopping with merchants offering special savings and discounts, such as free shipping or rebates (42% of holiday shoppers), while nearly one third (28%) said they plan to shop on Black Friday.

Overall, the study found that nearly one third of Americans (29%) plan to seek out bargains more than they did last year.

A plurality of holiday shoppers (26%) said they plan to spend the most this holiday season on gift certificates or gift cards, over other popular gift categories such as clothing or toys.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans said they like the idea of giving prepaid gift cards to friends and family this holiday season, while 61% like the idea of receiving them.

Younger adults (those under age 35) are the most willing to face the crowds to shop on Black Friday (48%), compared to 23% of those aged 35-54, and 15% of those aged 55 and over. The survey found shopping on Black Friday is the most popular way for young adults to save on holiday-shopping expenses this year, with shopping online being their next popular strategy (42%).

More than any other demographic, Americans aged 35-54 said they will seek out in-store “early bird” specials before 10:00 a.m. (32%) and wait for last minute deals (32%) in order to take advantage of savings this holiday season.