Despite the pressures of rising oil and gas prices, consumers are planning to spend 4% more this holiday season than they did last year. Adults anticipate devoting $681 to gift-giving this holiday, up from $655 in 2004, with the biggest share devoted to apparel, according to the results of a survey of 2,116 people conducted on Sept. 12-19 by the NPD Group.
Of those surveyed, 41% said they would be finished holiday shopping by early December and 45% said they’d begin before Thanksgiving. However, about one-third (35%) indicated they would wait until the last minute to buy gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The study found that, after apparel, people expect to spend the most on toys, followed by movies, electronics and books.
While apparel has long been the favorite holiday gift purchase, its dominance has been fading. The NPD group found that this year, 67% of people ages 18 and older expect to buy apparel as presents; 51% plan to give a toy; 44% anticipate giving consumer electronics, 44% expect to give movies and 39% music. Gift cards and gift certificates keep growing, with 40% of adults planning to give one, up from 36% last year. During the holidays in 2004, 49% gave one.
About two-thirds of those polled (65%) said higher gas or oil prices will have “very little” or “no” effect on their holiday purchasing. About one-quarter (24%) said those costs will have a “great impact” on their expenditures.