Survey: Cautious holiday shoppers to spend 4% less for jewelry

Consumers are indicating that they plan to be cautious shoppers this holiday season, according to a recently released survey.

The results of a holiday survey conducted by the NPD Group, Inc., Port Washington, N.Y., states that 69% of American consumers plan to spend the same amount this holiday and 20% said they plan to spend than they did last year. Only, 12% of survey respondents said they will spend more than last year on holiday gifts.

On average, survey respondents plan to spend $661 this holiday season, the survey reports. Consumers with combined household incomes under $30,000 annually plan to spend $379. Spending increases to $618 for those with household incomes of between $30,000 and $74,000 and consumers earning $75,000 or more plan to spend $956.

A total of 31% of respondents said they plan on purchasing jewelry this holiday season, a 4% drop from purchases last year, the survey notes. The vast majority of survey respondents (74%) said they will buy clothing this year, followed by toys (55%), books (43%), and music (40%).

Value will be a holiday shopping theme this year as consumers said they will delay purchases until retailers offer sales, the survey notes. Forty-nine percent of consumers said buying on sale this year is “just as important” as it was during holiday 2001. An equal percentage of consumers (49% ) said buying on sale was “more important” than last year. Forty percent of women view buying on sale this year as “much more important,” while 30% of men view buying on sale as “much more important” as it was to them last year.

This holiday season, consumers say they will shop more in discount stores, warehouse clubs, outlets, and online than other types of retailers, the survey reports. Seventy-nine percent of consumers plan to shop this holiday season in discount stores such as Kmart, Target, and Wal-Mart.

Thirty-six percent of consumers say they plan to shop in warehouse clubs and 30% of consumers plan to shop in outlets. Forty percent of consumers plan to purchase holiday gifts online. Catalog shopping is preferred by more women than men. Forty percent of women said they plan to shop via catalog/mail order this holiday season, compared to 25% of men.

The NPD survey also asked consumers about the influences affecting channel decisions. Value, quality of merchandise and selection were cited as the top three influences on consumers’ decisions about where to shop this year.

“Consumers have many options this year. Given the wide range of styles, models, products, prices, and retailer alternatives and the commitment to finding value, understanding where the opportunities are and what’s important to consumers is going to be critical to retailers’ holiday season success,” said Marshal Cohen, co-president, NPDFashionworld, a division of The NPD Group, Inc. “Retailers are trying to be leaner with inventories, but will that boost or hinder sales? This remains to be seen.”

A safe environment is a strong influence on consumer choice this year, particularly among women. Fifty-four percent of women and 34 percent of men view shopping in a safe environment as “extremely important.”

The NPD Holiday Survey was was e-mailed to 5,000 members of the NPD Online Panel. The findings presented here are based on information from 2,363 completed interviews. NPD Group is a global market information company that measures product movement and consumer behavior across a broad range of industries.

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