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NRF: Consumers to spend more modestly during holidays

Washington - Economic uncertainty and the Congressional ineptitude have consumers paring their holiday shopping budgets, with the average shopper planning to spend $737.95 this year, about 2% less than they shelled out last year, according to the National Retail Federation.
NRF's holiday consumer spending survey, which was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, for the first time asked consumers whether the situation in Washington would impact their shopping plans. The result: 29% said somewhat or very likely. Older Americans were the mostly likely to say so, with 32.7% of those between the ages of 55 and 62 saying gridlock was somewhat or very likely to alter their plans.

"Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances," said NRF president and ceo Matthew Shay. "We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months.
Asked about the state of the economy, 51.0% said it would in some way affect their decisions, with 79.5% planning to reduce their spending - primarily by doing less "self-gifting" as they shop for others.
Total spending on holiday décor is expected to reach $6.8 billion, with the average person spending $51.60.
Shopping with start before Halloween for 41.2% of consumers, who said they want to spread out their spending, while 38.8% will get going in November. Just 3.9% said they will wait until the last minute. In addition, consumers plan to do about 40% of their shopping on line. The average person will complete about 39.5 percent of their shopping on retail and other company websites, up from 38.8 percent last year and the highest amount in the survey's history.
NRF continues to project a 3.9% in total holiday sales, with online sales expected to rise 13% to 15%.


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