According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, early Black Friday sales and special Christmas gift offers have piqued many consumers’ interest with 51.4 percent of shoppers starting their gift buying already. That figure is up from only 48.9 percent one year ago.
Now, while NRF already found that consumers will be slightly more frugal with budgets this Christmas season, according to the survey more shoppers will make a discretionary gift purchase.
NRF found that 21.2 percent of shoppers intend to purchase jewelry this Christmas and that is up from 20.3 percent in 2010. Other discretionary items on the shopping lists include home décor, sporting goods or leisure items and personal care or beauty items. Nearly one-third of Christmas shoppers will buy electronics or computer accessories, up from only one-quarter in 2010. Additionally, nearly six in 10 plan to purchase clothing or clothing accessories. Most consumers, 57 percent, will buy gift cards this year, marking the highest percent in the survey’s 10-year history and correlating with NRF’s first holiday survey, which found that gift cards were also the most requested gift item.
The survey also found shoppers are still keen on using money they already have or have saved up to purchase holiday gifts as 44 percent will rely on their debit cards as a primary form of payment, that too is the most in the survey’s 10-year history. Additionally, 24 percent will use cash and 3 percent will write a check. Nearly 29 percent will charge their gifts.
”Hoping to spread some holiday cheer, retailers are already offering promotions on everyday items that budget-conscious shoppers know their friends and family members can wear or use on a daily basis,” said NRF’s president, Matthew Shay. ”Whether it’s free shipping on select online orders or discounts across the board, those looking for great deals on items – either as a gift or for themselves – won’t have to look far.”
Pam Goodfellow, the consumer insights director at BIGresearch, observed that consumers are already sampling retail promotions, but that they are being cautious not to over spend. ”Given shoppers’ hunger for value and good deals, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be incredibly important days for retailers this year,” she said.