Early October promotions drove millions of U.S. Consumers to begin their holiday shopping. In fact, a recent survey found that 53.8% shoppers have started already and 46.2% said they have yet to start.
The National Retail Federation’s consumer spending survey found consumers have plans to spend slightly less this year than last year. Their plans will be to shop for both value and price when checking items off their holiday lists.
Clothing and clothing accessories are the most popular choice among shoppers. The survey found that nearly 60.7% of consumers will splurge on fashion and apparel items and other accessories. The most requested gift items for the last seven years among consumers are gift cards, with 59.2% consumers saying they will splurge on gift cards.
Additionally, 44.3% of consumers will buy toys, 22.3% say they will purchase jewelry items and 19.0% will buy sporting goods and leisure items, according to the survey.
Tablets and smart watches are the driving force behind why consumers will give electronics this year. One-third of consumers will buy electronics and/or computer items and accessories, which was up from 31.8% last year, the highest percentage since 2006.
Where will consumers find inspiration for their gift giving ideas? According to the survey, traditional search methods are still a top choice, but tips from social media will be popular as well. The survey found that 47.9% of consumers will look for holiday gifts ideas online and 36% will check out a retailer’s advertising circulars.
Shoppers will pursue magazines for ideas (22.2%), 21.5% will look into email advertisements and 14% will use Facebook. More than 33.7% will seek ideas from catalogs. Shoppers will also use a retailers’ apps (10.1%) which is up from 8.7% last year and 7.2% will use Pinterest, which is up from 5.8% last year.
The survey found that consumers will use the money they already have or have saved up to purchase holiday gifts, which has remained consistent with the results for the last three years.
More than 43.7% will rely on debit cards as their primary form of payment. An additional 25.4% will use cash, 2.4% will use a check and 28.5% will charge their gifts.