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Holiday spending to climb, but shoppers want deals

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Consumers are feeling generous this holiday season, but they still want the biggest bang for their buck.

This was according to “The Conference Board Holiday Spending Survey, October 2018,” which revealed that holiday shoppers plan to spend about $627 on gifts this season. This is well above last year’s estimated $560.

However, these shoppers will also be doing some bargain hunting. Not only will they be looking for sales, more than a third of shoppers said they expect – at a minimum – to purchase half their gifts at a discount.

By seeking out better deals, customers may be willing to open their wallets more often this holiday season. For example, approximately 12% of consumers plan to spend more this year on holiday gifts. Sixty-five percent plan to spend about the same as last year, and the remaining 24% said they plan to spend less.

A greater number of consumers also will be shopping online, with more than 37% of consumers planning to make at least half of their purchases online.

“Consumers are excited about the holiday season and are ready to shop,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

“Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. Unemployment is the lowest in decades. Given the strong economy and job growth – with expectations of more in the New Year – retailers should expect strong demand this season, with the potential to be one of the best shopping seasons in years,” Franco said. “However, they will still face a tough and discriminating consumer – one who is expecting bargains and willing to wait for a deal. Retailers will need to get creative and offer numerous deals and promotions, especially given the increased competition from online merchants.”

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