Online Holiday Shoppers to Spend More

Non-gift buyers are expected to play a big role this season.

by staff writer
- Oct 20, 2011

Holiday sales are expected to rise just 2.8 percent this year, but this doesn't mean people won't be buying for friends, family and themselves.

About 59 percent of shoppers are expected to take advantage of holiday sales to buy something—that's not a holiday gift—for themselves or their family members. On average, consumers will spend $130.43 on non-gift items, up from last year's $112.20 average, according to a recent survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation.

But that's not the only good news for retailers. The survey notes that thrifty buyers will also shop at a variety of stores, from online shops to discount stores to grocery stores, to find the right presents for everyone on their holiday lists.

The average buyer is expected to spend $704.18 on gifts and merchandise. Most of that cash will go toward presents for family, but experts say friends and co-workers won't be forgotten. In fact, consumers are expected to spend an average of $68.23 and $21.06, respectively, on them.

Online retailers expected to do well

Experts add that shoppers will spend a lot of time online this holiday season, researching and buying items to take advantage of the deals and convenience the World Wide Web provides. And online merchants will benefit greatly, as online consumers are expected to spend about 22 percent more than the average gift giver, according to NRF.

More than half of consumers surveyed say they'll use their mobile device to research what they need, compare prices, redeem coupons and buy, officials note.

"When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race, and the same is true for shoppers who are meticulously calculating the best way to stretch their dollar," notes Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.

While price and discounts will be major factors in deciding what to buy and from where, so will customer service and quality of goods, the survey notes.

"In 2009 it was all about personal and practical, and last year consumers wanted to treat their loved ones to something special. This year it's a little bit of both," notes Pam Goodfellow, director of Consumer Insights for BIGresearch. "Limited budgets and a desire to make the most out of gift-giving will drive consumers to shop at a variety of retailers while also thinking outside the box for great gift ideas."

Buyers note that among the top items on their wish lists are gift cards, clothing and accessories, electronics, jewelry, and personal care products, NRF notes.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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