Holiday Shoppers Mobilize

October 19, 2010

Close to half of adult smartphone owners younger than 25 will use smartphones in their holiday shopping process, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGresearch.

Consumers Get Smart about Holiday Shopping
According to the survey, more than one-fourth of American adults with a smartphone (27%) will use these devices to research or make holiday purchases, and that number jumps to 45% among young adults 18-24 and 43% among adults 25-34. This percentage sharply declines with each older age bracket, bottoming out at about 7% of smartphone owners 65 and older.

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In addition, men (30%) are more likely to aid holiday shopping with smartphones than women (23%). Smartphone owners who make more than $50,000 per year (30%) will make more use of their devices than those making less than $50,000 a year (23%).

Regionally, about 28% of smartphone owners in the Northeast, Southeast and West will use their mobile devices in holiday shopping. That percentage drops to only 23% of Midwesterners.

Average Holiday Spending Rises 1%
Average holiday spending is expected to climb about 1%, from $681.83 to $688.87. This year’s average represents a slight 0.8% dip from the 2008 average of $694.19. However, holiday sales are down a marked 9% from $755.13 in 2007. December 2007 is generally considered the starting point of the current worldwide recession.

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Gifts Represent Most of Total Purchases
As in years past, most holiday gift-givers will spend the largest portion of their budget buying gifts for family ($393.55) and friends ($71.45), though they’ll still carve out room in their budget for small tokens of appreciation for both co-workers ($18.26) and others ($34.82).

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Total spending on gifts ($518.08) is expected to rise 2.1% from last year, which is in line with NRF’s 2010 holiday forecast. Americans will also spend an average of $41.51 on decorations, $26.10 on greeting cards and postage, $86.32 on candy and food, and $16.86 on flowers.

Recipients Want Choice
Gift cards and gift certificates that offer the recipient some choice in their gift are by far the most desired gift item of 2010, with 57% of consumers wanting to receive them. Clothing/accessories (48%) and books/CDs/DVDs/video games (47%) follow.

No other gift category approaches the popularity of those three. The next-most-popular item, consumer electronics/computer accessories, is on the wish list of 34% of consumers.

Halloween Spending Returns to ’08 Levels
Increased holiday spending follows an expected uptick in Halloween spending this year, according to another recent NRF survey. Americans will spend an average $66.28 each on Halloween costumes, candy and decorations, up 17.7% from last year’s per person average of $56.31 and comparable to the $66.54 average spend in 2008. Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $5.8 billion this year.

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