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Americans to spend $675 on holiday gifts, some more

Despite some softening in confidence, consumers are entering the holiday season in a highly festive mood, with intentions to spend about $675 on gifts this season, according to a survey by The Conference Board.

This is an increase over last year's spending estimate of $627. However, despite a willingness to spend generously, consumers say they are expecting steep discounts. In fact, more than a third say they expect – at a minimum – to purchase half their gifts at a discount.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The survey was conducted for The Conference Board in October as part of the Consumer Confidence Survey®.

"This holiday season has all the makings of a good one," says Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "Consumers are gearing up for the holidays, with signs indicating they will not reign in their spending. Consumer confidence is at historically strong levels, the job market remains solid, and the economy is in a record-breaking year of expansion. Retailers should expect strong demand this season. However, as we have come to expect, consumers will be discerning when spending. Most will expect bargains, comparison shop, and wait up to the last minute for steep discounts. Online merchants are poised to see increased traffic, as the percentage of consumers clicking and shipping continues to grow."

Approximately 10 percent of consumers plan to spend more this year on holiday gifts. The percent who plan to spend the same as last year increased from about 65 percent to 67 percent. A greater number of consumers will be shopping online, a growing trend for the past few years. Now, more than 41 percent of consumers are planning to make at least half of their purchases online.

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