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PriceGrabber's Holiday Consumer Spending Forecast: How Full or Empty is Your Glass?

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PriceGrabber has released their holiday consumer spending forecast and it's clear that shoppers are hankering down on the ol' family budget. It's not quite as severe as last year, but consumers seem to be planning their holiday spending with more diligence this time around. In order to spend smarter, they're starting earlier, doing their research and looking for deals. Let's dig in.

70% of consumers are conducting product research and comparison shopping online. This has nearly doubled from last year, which was 38%. That behavior is already in progress. 30% have already begun shopping, most of them beginning this month (October).

Fewer consumers are planning to spend less. This year 53% plan to spend less than they did last year. That's down from 71% of consumers who were asked the same question in 2008. It's good news that the number has dropped, but retailers need that number to drop even more.

The top 3 ways consumers plan to save are:

  • research and comparison shop online (70%)
  • shop at discount stores (50%)
  • use online coupons (39%).

If you have a clearance, discount or outlet part of your e-commerce site, you'll want to promote it. 50% of consumers are planning to shop at discount or outlet stores this year, while only 43% did so last year.

Women will make more of an effort to save than men. Female consumers dominate every penny-pinching category except for research and comparison shopping. 72% of men and 67% of women will research and compare online this year.

When it comes to how much will be spent, about 53% will spend less. 70% of those surveyed plan to spend less than $1,000.

The top 3 reasons for spending less this year should come as no surprise:

  • increase in prices of necessities (48%)
  • lack of confidence in the economy (45%)
  • making less money this year (38%)

43% of consumers expect to shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Of those, 79% plan to spend on Black Friday and 66% plan to make a purchase on Cyber Monday.

29% of consumers are planning to purchase gifts for fewer people. That's more than double last year's number, when only 10% crossed names off their gift-giving lists. Acquaintances, coworkers and service providers are most likely to get the axe at 57%, 53% and 44% respectively.

We just threw a ton of numbers at you, but if you're hungry for more, there's a ton more data where this came from. Check out PriceGrabber's full 16 page report (PDF) here.


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