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)||Avg.Spend|
|New Shoes or Accessories||38%||65%||$64|
|Spa – Facial, Body Treatment||13%||117%||$76|
Dreaming of a Green ChristmasCash and gift cards (19%) top wish lists for the third year in a row (20% in 2012 and 2011), with 27% of cash or gift card recipients planning to treat themselves, 22% intending to use the money to pay their bills and 30% expecting to spend it on someone else. And they won’t wait long. Similar to last year, consumers expect gift cards to immediately burn holes through their pockets, as 43% plan to use them within a month of receipt, and 19% planning to use them the day after Christmas. 2012, more than half of holiday shoppers (56%) expect to hit the stores on December 26. Regifting is an increasingly acceptable practice; with the vast majority of Americans (73%) agreeing it’s okay to recycle a gift, up from 71% in 2012. While it might be socially acceptable, only 32% admitted to partaking in the practice last year, regifting an average of three gifts. The Gift of Giving: At Home, Work and Beyond As Americans check items off their lists, many will struggle the most with finding that special something for a special someone. The closest family members seem to be the hardest to shop for, with holiday shoppers citing their spouse or significant other as the most difficult person to please (28% vs. 25% in 2012), followed by mothers (10% vs. 11% in 2012) and their children (12%, slightly down from 14% in 2012). Gift giving won’t be reserved for family and friends. Topping the office gift list are colleagues (66%), followed by the boss (44%) and assistants (22%). Workers say they will splurge the most on their superiors, perhaps to earn brownie points, spending $70 on average.
|Colleagues or coworkers||66%||$46|