NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Last year, it's fair to say, holiday gift buyers were spending as little as possible -- but next year's holiday spending should return to normal, according to many analysts. So where does this leave holiday shopping trends for this year?
"This year," says Kelton Research CEO Tom Bernthal, is "a hybrid year. Consumers want to purchase widely, but in a very cautious manner," boosting the popularity of barcode scanning iPhone app RedLaser and online shopping comparison sites. Retailers are responding to this with competitive shipping deals and pricing that give consumers the "emotional permission to buy," Bernthal explains.
In light of all this, one gift category that's finding significant success this holiday season is the low-cost novelty toy, such as the small Sing-a-ma-jigs, Gifts.com trend editor Dana Schultze Holmes says. "Sing-a-ma-jigs are flying off the shelves and are definitely going to be a huge player this holiday season. Novelty toys make it easy to get gifts without spending a lot."
A Consumer Reports survey of more than 2,000 consumers nationwide shows that this holiday season, 68% of Americans plan to buy clothing for others, 62% intend to buy electronics, 62% are considering gift cards, 62% are looking at toys and 58% plan on giving cash. IBISWorld expects the electronics gift category to grow by 7% this year. But what specific items are the hottest buys?Here, according to gifts.com, are the top buys for the coming holiday season -- and the companies that stand to profit from them.