It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It also may be the most expensive time of the year. The latest survey on holiday spending from the National Retail Federation confirmed it.
According to the survey, holiday spending in the US is expected to grow to a whopping $682 billion this year. That means consumers expect to spend an average of $967.13 on gifts, food, decorations and more during the holidays.
“Our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and overall strength of the industry,” said NRF CEO and president Matthew Shay. “Although this year hasn’t been perfect, especially with the recent devastating hurricanes, we believe that a longer shopping season and strong consumer confidence will deliver retailers a strong holiday season.”
So What Is Everyone Buying This Year?
About half this year’s spending has gone toward gifts for family and 13 percent on gifts for friends and coworkers.
For the first time in the history of the NRF’s holiday shopping survey, most consumers plan to do their holiday shopping online rather than in department stores. Small and local businesses are also feeling the holiday love. One-quarter of consumers plan to purchase gifts at local and small businesses.
All those holiday parties can be pricey too. According to the survey, food and candy take up 11 percent of spending. Flour, butter and sugar for all those Christmas cookies can add up. The last six percent goes toward holiday decorations.
If you’re among the two percent still waiting to start shopping, the survey is here to help. The NRF surveyed more than 7,000 consumers and came up with the most popular gift categories. You can also breathe a sigh of relief. Most people want gift cards.
On the other hand, friends and family also do appreciate a real gift to open. The most requested items are clothes and accessories; 55 percent want to find that under the tree. Next, 39 percent hope to receive books and other media as a holiday gift . Another 33 percent have electronics on their wish lists. Finally, 24 percent want decor and home furnishings.
Just because overall holiday spending is on the rise, doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. There are plenty of creative ways to stay on budget with last-minute deals.