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NRF: More Consumers Getting Early Jump On Holiday Shopping This Year

WASHINGTON - Thanksgiving Day is still not upon us, and yet more consumers than last year are already beginning to make a dent in their holiday shopping lists, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.
     Conducted by consumer research firm BigInsight, which polled 9,383 consumers from November 1-6, the survey found 52.8% of Americans have already started their holiday shopping, up from 51.4% in 2011.
     "In order to win over savvy shoppers this year, retailers are well aware that their deals have to stand out, and it looks like there's plenty of people eager to get their hands on the exclusive promotions we are already seeing," said Matthew Shay, NRF president and ceo. "With more promotions to come, gift givers will have ample opportunities this holiday season to seek out the perfect gift - either for themselves or for others."
     With plans to spend slightly more than last year, shoppers said they will be stocking up many discretionary gifts for their loved ones. The most popular choice: clothing and clothing accessories. According to the survey, nearly six in 10 (59.7%) consumers will splurge on fashion and apparel items and other accessories. About the same amount of people (59.2%) will buy gift cards, which are also the most requested gift item. Children will also benefit this holiday season - 45.1% of people say they will buy toys. Additionally, 22.5% of shoppers will go the extra mile and surprise someone special with jewelry, the highest amount since 2007.
     Other popular gifts will be books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games (51.5%), electronics (31.7%), personal care or beauty items (24.4%) and food and candy (32.6%).
     The survey also found shoppers much prefer to use money they already have or have saved up to purchase holiday gifts. More than four in 10 (43.4%) will rely on debit cards as their primary form of payment. An additional 25.2% will use cash and 2.8% will use a check. Nearly three in 10 (28.7%) will charge their gifts.
     "Consumers are keen on scoring hot holiday deals this year, and exclusive apparel, electronics and toy promotions are making them all the more anxious," said Pam Goodfellow, BigInsight consumer insights director. "Trying to stay within budget, shoppers will map out their holiday season shopping strategy before stepping foot in any store or logging onto any website."
     To find inspiration for what gifts to give, more holiday shoppers are turning to the web this year, as 47.3% of consumers surveyed said they will look for holiday gift ideas online. Coming in a close second is in-store inspiration, with 45.2% of Americans noting that they will take a stroll in the store to find the ideal gift. Other popular areas for insight include advertising circulars (36.2%), television (35.4%) and friends and family (40.4%). Proving they are still seen as a value to shoppers, more than one-third (34.1%) of consumers say they will seek ideas from catalogs. Additionally, 13.3% will head to Facebook and 5.8 % will use Pinterest for ideas.

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