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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Report: Consumers in a Festive Mood as the Holiday Season Approaches

U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $471 on gifts during the holiday season, up from last year's estimate of $449, The Conference Board reports.

The survey of Christmas gift spending intentions covers a nationally representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. It was conducted for The Conference Board in November by TNS, a custom research company.

"Consumers are in a festive mood heading into the Thanksgiving holiday," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "And, it appears they are willing to spend more than last year, though retailers can still expect a fair share of bargain hunters will be lining up for the traditional kickoff this Friday."

The top Christmas spenders will be East South Central households (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee) who intend to spend $583. Lowest Christmas spending will be in the West North Central region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) where consumers intend to spend $397 on Christmas gifts.

One-third of all households will spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, with 35 percent spending $200-$500 and the remaining 31 percent planning to spend less than $200.

This year, 38 percent of all consumers will buy Christmas gifts on the Internet, the same percentage as a year ago. Books top the list of online Christmas buying, with 40 percent saying they will buy books as gifts.

Apparel and footwear came in second with 39 percent of consumers intending to purchase these gifts online. Toys/games rank third as online Christmas buying choices, followed closely by movie videos and DVDs.

Of the 38 percent who said they purchased Christmas gifts last year on the Internet, 91 percent said they were satisfied with their online buying experience.

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