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Survey Predicts 5 Percent Bump in Holiday Spending

25 Nov, 2002 By: Hive News

American families intend to spend an average of $483 on gifts this Christmas, up from last year's $462, The Conference Board reported today.

This annual survey of Christmas spending intentions covers a nationally representative sample of 5,000 households. The survey was conducted for The Conference Board in November by NFO WorldGroup, a member of The Interpublic Group of companies.

Despite widespread reports that worried consumers will sharply curtail their holiday spending, the Board's annual survey projects a 5 percent increase in Christmas spending this year," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "Continued discounting by retailers, both online and in the stores, is likely to prop up Christmas spending."

About 34 percent of U.S. families plan to spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, with another 38 percent spending between $200 and $500.

About 27 percent of American households intend to buy holiday gifts online this year, an increase from last year's 21 percent. Biggest online purchases will be for books, toys and games, clothing and shoes and music CDs.

Conference Board research shows that rising numbers of online buyers are happy with the products they've bought through the Internet (92 percent last holiday season against 90 percent in 2000.)

The top holiday spenders this year are expected to be families in New England, who will spend an average of $552. Lowest average spenders this Christmas ($393 per family) will be in the East South Central region, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Other key findings in The Conference Board survey:

  • Households headed by people 55-64 intend to spend the most this year, averaging $521 per family.
  • Families earning more than $50,000 intend to spend $649 for Christmas gifts, one-and-a-third times the national average.

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