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Consumers to spend 3.7% more this holiday

Washington – Holiday-related spending will tick up 3.7% over 2006, according to the National Retail Federation(NRF) 2007 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

The survey, conducted for NRF by BIGresearch, showed consumers plan to spend an average of $816.69 plus $106.67 on “non-gift” holiday purchases, for a total of $923.36.

NRF, a bit more optimistic than consumers themselves, continues to expect holiday sales to increase 4.0% to $474.5 billion.

“Shoppers will be a little more conservative with their spending as they become more aware of the softness in the economy,” said NRF president and ceo Tracy Mullin. “It is safe to say that many retailers will be competing on price, causing this holiday season to be very promotional - a tremendous win for consumers.”

And the promoting is already underway: this year, the survey revealed, 40.3% of shoppers will begin holiday shopping before Halloween (Oct. 31).

The proportion of shoppers who said they want to receive a gift from the category of “home décor or home-related furnishings” held steady this year at 22.0%.

The share of shopping done online continues to expand: 30.2% of holiday shopping will be online, up from 28.9% in 2006, consumers said of their plans.

However, there is room for digital humility, as the fraction of consumers who said they will do at least some holiday shopping online actually declined, to 44.3% in 2007 vs. 47.1% in 2006.

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