Consumers in a Frugal Holiday Mood, The Conference Board Reports

U.S. Households Plan to Spend an Average of $390 this Season, Down from Last Year

23 Nov, 2009, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

 

 

 

NEW YORK, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $390 on Christmas gifts this holiday season, down from last year's estimate of $418, The Conference Board reports today.

 

The survey of Christmas gift spending intentions covers a nationally representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. It was conducted for The Conference Board in November by TNS, the world's largest custom research company.

 

"Consumers are approaching the holiday season very cautiously," says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "Job losses and uncertainty about the future are making for a very frugal shopper. Retailers will need to be quite creative to entice consumers to spend, both in stores and online this holiday season, as consumers most certainly will expect major markdowns and bargains."

 

The top spenders will be New England households (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) who intend to spend an average of $534. Lowest Christmas spending will be in the Mountain region (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming) where consumers intend to spend $332 on Christmas gifts.

 

Only 26 percent of all households intend to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, down slightly from 27 percent last year. Among other households, 35 percent plan to spend $200-$500, down from 37 percent last year, and 39 percent are planning to spend less than $200, up from 35 percent in 2008.

 

ONLINE BUYING INTENTIONS

Consumers will also approach online holiday shopping very cautiously, holding off on big ticket items and holding out for major incentives like free shipping and discounts, according to The Consumer Internet Barometer, a separate survey produced quarterly by The Conference Board and TNS. The Consumer Internet Barometer surveys 10,000 households across the country and tracks who's doing what on the Internet.

 

"Even as the economy is starting to show signs of improvement, consumers are taking a cautious approach to their purchase decisions, focusing on lower ticket items that clearly communicate value," notes Bridget Armstrong, head of Consumer Sector at TNS.

 

Budget-friendly items appear at the top of consumers' online holiday shopping lists. The top categories include books, apparel/footwear, toys/games and movies/DVDs. The most preferred shopping sites are those operated by online retailers such as Amazon.com. Retail stores and catalog operators such as Walmart.com or BestBuy.com are a close second.

 

About 90 percent of online consumers cite free shipping as a major incentive. More than two out of three said special deals and offers not available in stores as well as coupons and discounts would encourage them to spend more.

 

U.S. REGIONS:

 

New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

 

Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

 

East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin

 

West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota

 

South Atlantic: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

 

East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee

 

West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

 

Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

 

Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

 

 


How much will you be spending on gifts this  Christmas?*

TOTAL U.S.                                               $390
REGION
    New England                                          $534
    Middle Atlantic                                      $421
    E.N. Central                                         $427
    W.N. Central                                         $470
    South Atlantic                                       $346
    E.S. Central                                         $390
    W.S. Central                                         $374
    Mountain                                             $332
    Pacific                                              $343
AGE OF HOUSEHOLD HEAD
    Under 25                                             $257
    25-34                                                $345
    35-44                                                $356
    45-54                                                $400
    55-64                                                $413
    65 & over                                            $414
HOUSEHOLD INCOME
    Under $15,000                                        $180
    $15,999-$25,000                                      $218
    $25,000-$35,000                                      $307
    $35,000-$50,000                                      $343
    $50,000 & over                                       $514


* These figures represent average planned household expenditures
  on Christmas gifts for 2009.



 

 

 


How much will you be spending on gifts this Christmas?*

TOTAL U.S.                                             100.0%
Under $100                                              21.6%
$100-$199                                               17.3%
$200-$299                                               13.0%
$300-$399                                               12.1%
$400-$499                                                9.8%
$500-$749                                               13.0%
$750-$999                                                5.6%
$1,000 & over                                            7.7%


* These figures represent average planned household expenditures
  on Christmas gifts for 2009.

 

Source: The Conference Board Christmas Spending Survey, November 2009

 


Which items will you purchase online this Holiday
 season?*

Books                                                  41.2%
Apparel & Footwear                                     40.0
Toys/Games                                             35.0
Movie Videos & DVDs                                    33.9
Gift Certificate                                       25.0
Electronics                                            23.6
Music CDs                                              19.6
Computer Software                                      13.0
Other                                                   9.4
Wine & Spirits                                          1.1
Home & Garden                                           0.6
Jewelry                                                 0.5
Tools & Hardware                                        0.2

*Based on online households who intend to make an online purchase
this holiday season.

 

 

 


Which incentives would encourage you to spend more online this
 Holiday season?*

Total U.S.                                                     100.0%
Free shipping offers                                            90.1%
Free return postage                                             41.6%
Able to return to physical store                                48.9%
Can find things that are not available in stores                54.1%
Special offers/deals that are not available in stores           69.7%
Guarantee delivery date                                         32.4%
Coupons/discounts                                               68.0%
Other encouragement                                              2.5%

*Based on online households who intend to make an online purchase
this holiday season.

 

 

Source: The Conference Board TNS Consumer Internet Barometer Survey, Q4 (October) 2009

 

 

SOURCE The Conference Board



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