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Trending For The Holidays: Gifting, Regifting And Primping

Stocks in this article: AXP

A few weeks into the holiday shopping season, consumers are taking a smart approach to spending, with 66% of holiday shoppers creating a budget and 75% considering shopping last minute (77% in 2012), in part to take advantage of the best deals (45% vs. 37% in 2012) and take time to save enough to cover purchases (20% vs. 27% in 2012), according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Though more than half of Americans (54%) say the economic uncertainty is causing them to watch their budgets, consumers aren’t leaving work colleagues off their list or forgoing a new holiday outfit or haircut, and many Americans (64%) intend to save some budget to give back this year, donating an average of $130 to charity.

View/download the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

“Economic concerns coupled with an aggressive push by retailers earlier in the season created a unique push and pull between shopper and retailers,” said David Rabkin, SVP of U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “Americans aren’t sacrificing on holiday fun; they’re still giving and spending to look great at their holiday get-togethers, but they are relying more and more on deals and discounts to help them stay within their budgets.”

Holiday Extras from Dining to Primping

Trending up from last year, more Americans are planning to invest in their social lives this season and expect to spend more going out to dinner (16% vs. 11% in 2012), lunch or brunch (8%, vs. 3% in 2012), catching a movie (11% vs. 7% in 2012), and enjoying the local culture at a concert or museum (5% each vs. 1% each in 2012) or the theater (4% vs. 2% in 2012).

Across the board more consumers than in recent years say they will spend a little extra to primp for holiday festivities, treating themselves to:


Any whoExpect toSpend


Any who expectto spend thisyear vs. 2012:(% changereported)



Hair Cut/Styling   57%   54%   $40
New Outfit   47%   57%   $76
New Shoes or Accessories   38%   65%   $64
Manicure/Pedicure   28%   100%   $37
Waxing   14%   100%   $41
Spa – Facial, Body Treatment   13%   117%   $76

With holiday parties and family gatherings to attend, 71% plan to purchase hostess gifts this year, up from 66% in 2012. Most plan to spend an average of $37 per gift, on par with last year, with spirits being the top choice for most (44% vs. 39% in 2012) and food to serve at the party a close second (40% vs. 39% in 2012).

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