Sober Retail Spending Outlook Amid More Upbeat Forecast

October 19 00:00 2011

New York, October 19 ( – Reminiscent of 2009 when recession-hit customers pinched pennies and bought practical gifts in the holiday season, shoppers this year anticipate spending less than last year when consumers, tired of being frugal and splurged, just let themselves go. However, National Retail Federation is more upbeat about holiday spending by shoppers this year.

An annual consumer intentions survey due out Wednesday conducted by BIG Research for the National Retail Federation reveals that holiday shoppers will spend an average $704.18 on gifts and seasonal merchandise in the months of November and December, down 2 percent from last year’s average budget of $718.98.

In the midst of such tight budgets, consumers are hunting for deals again this year. Nearly 66 percent of consumers are planning to shop at a discount store for holiday gifts this year, slightly higher than 65 percent last year. A report said that smartphones, tablets and the Internet will help consumers in their bargain-hunting mission.

Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the Washington-based retail trade group said that “When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race, and the same is true for shoppers, who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar.” The gift card still remains the most-requested gift for the fifth year in the row.