Survey: U.S. Consumers Will Spend Less This Holiday

U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $682.74 on holiday-related shopping, a 3% drop from last year’s $705.01, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

The results come two weeks after NRF predicted a 1% drop in sales to $437.6 billion for holiday 2009.

Of the 8,431 respondents, 42% said they would use e-commerce for part or all of their holiday shopping.

According to the survey, conducted by BIGresearch, 66% of U.S. Shoppers say the economy will affect their holiday plans this year, with 84% of respondents say they’re adjusting by simply spending less.

To ensure that they will spend less, 55% say they’ll be shopping for sales more often, 42% will be using more coupons and 34% are putting up last year’s decorations.

Many Americans will also make changes in gift-giving, with 36% planning to buy more practical gifts, 17.3% buying a joint gift for kids or parents and 17% making more gifts (17%). Additionally, more than one-fourth of respondents (29%) say the economy is forcing them to travel less or not at all for the holidays.

But there’s good news about merchants: NRF president/CEO Tracy Mullin said in a statement that retailers do seem to be prepared for a drop in holiday shopping.

“In anticipation of weak demand, many retailers scaled back on inventory levels to prevent unplanned markdowns at the end of the season,” Mullin said. “Once the most popular items are gone, retailers won’t have anywhere to get them, so if there was ever a holiday season to buy early, this is it.”

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