Holiday Gift-Giving Budgets Likely to Fall in 2013

Holiday shopping is expected to be scaled back by 2 percent, according to a holiday spending survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

As economic uncertainty continues to plague consumers—and retailers—this year’s spending will likely fall on everything from gifts to decor and greeting cards. 

“Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday-related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months.” 

Specifically, consumers are expected to cut back on treating themselves (i.e., self-gifting) in order to make room in their budgets for family members and loved ones.

“Retailers can expect to see practical and refined attitudes from their customers this holiday season as families make thoughtful decisions about what they need to buy and what they can pass on,” said Prosper Insights & Analytics consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow in a statement.

Holiday shoppers not only will be spending less, but they also are expected to begin shopping as early as October to spread out spending across their budgets and to avoid the stress of crowded stores and last-minute buying. 

Where consumers shop will more than likely be dictated by discounts and promotions, as opposed to selection and quality of merchandise or shipping deals.

The Internet will play a crucial role for retailers this year, with the average person completing almost 40 percent of gift shopping online. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets also will come in handy for holiday shoppers, with more than half of the survey’s participants citing plans to use their gadgets to shop and to look up store hours and locations as well as prices.   

For the seventh year in a row, gift cards prove to be the shining star of holiday wish lists. According to the NRF survey, 59.4 percent of Americans say they’d like to receive gift cards for anything from electronics to clothing and jewelry. 

JCK News Director