Deloitte 25th Annual Holiday Survey: Spending Intentions Improve Despite Consumers' Chilly Outlook

Americans Shop Carefully Due to the Economy; Consumers Look to Ring up Savings through Online, Mobile Channels

Oct 28, 2010, 09:41 ET from Deloitte

NEW YORK, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ --


Deloitte 25th Annual Holiday Survey


Alison Paul, vice chairman and Deloitte retail sector leader

Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte chief economist


Available immediately


Deloitte has released the results of its 25th Annual Holiday Survey of consumers' spending intentions and trends for the 2010 holiday season.  Among Deloitte's latest findings:

Consumers' economic outlook dims, but holiday shopping plans remain intact

  • Six out of 10 (62 percent) of survey respondents plan to spend more or the same on the holidays, a 11 percentage point rise from Deloitte's 2009 holiday survey and the highest level since 2006.
  • Consumers hold a conservative outlook on the U.S. economy, with nearly four out of 10 (39 percent) of those surveyed expecting the economy to improve next year, down from more than half (54 percent) who anticipated an improvement at this time last year.

Household finances are getting back on track, but consumers commit to spending cautiously

  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers surveyed indicate their household financial situation is the same or better than last year at this time, a 10 percentage point rise from 2009.
  • Consumers, however, maintain a careful approach to spending, as nearly three-quarters (73 percent) plan to change the way they shop this holiday season in an effort to save money.  
  • Almost half (46 percent) of those surveyed intend to purchase more gifts with cash than they have in the past, and 36 percent say they have permanently cut back the amount of money they spend.

Gift spending ticks up, ending a six year decline

  • Consumers plan to spend a total of $466 on gifts, the first increase since 2004.  However, the average number of gifts fell for the third consecutive year, to 16.8.  
  • Consumers' total anticipated holiday spend this year rose slightly to $1,160 from $1,145 in 2009 on gift and non-gift categories that include socializing away from home, entertaining, non-gift clothing, and home/holiday furnishings.

Mobile and online channels influence holiday purchases

  • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents indicate that online research will influence their holiday purchases.
  • Shoppers will also reach for their phones before reaching for their wallets.  Among the nearly one out of five shoppers (17 percent) who plan to use their smartphones in the holiday shopping process, 56 percent of them will do so to compare prices, up from 45 percent in 2009.
  • More than one out of 10 (12 percent) of consumers will turn to social networks for information such as gift ideas and coupons, discounts and sale information this holiday season.  Generation Y, or respondents in the 18 to 29 years old age group, will lead the holiday dialogue online, with one-quarter (25 percent) planning to visit social media channels.

Gift cards hold the top spot on shoppers' lists

  • Gift cards land at the top of the list of gift items consumers plan to purchase for the seventh year in a row.  However, the total number of cards that consumers plan to buy slipped to 5, from 5.4 in 2009.
  • Gift cards also continue to grow in favor among gift recipients; more than four out of 10 (44 percent) of consumers prefer to receive gift cards rather than merchandise, a number that has risen over the past four years from 35 percent in 2006.

Alison Paul, vice chairman and Deloitte's retail sector leader in the United States and Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte's chief economist, are available for commentary and further discussion about the survey findings.  Please contact Courtney Flaherty at +1 203 905 2708 or or Daniel Pineyro at +1 212 885 0312 or to schedule an interview.

For more information about Deloitte's Annual Holiday Survey, including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, please visit

About the Survey

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between September 23 and October 10, 2010. The survey polled a sample of 12,418 consumers and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus one percentage point.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

Courtney Flaherty

Daniel Pineyro

Public Relations

Hill & Knowlton


+1 212 885 0312

+1 203 905 2708

SOURCE Deloitte