Increased number of shoppers intend to spend more for holidays

New York -- A report released Wednesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs found that consumers are more willing to spend this holiday season.

According to the 2012 Holiday Spending Intentions Survey, 19% of consumers plan to spend more (and 5% plan to spend substantially more) on holiday gifts this year versus last year.  This is the highest percentage of consumers reporting they intend to increase spending over the previous holiday season since ICSC began asking the question in 2004.

The top three holiday-gift items for 2012 are gift cards (21.3%), apparel (14.1%) and toys and games (14.1%). Gift cards have consistently been one of the top items that consumers exchange during the holiday season, which is a key reason why the holiday season has been extended into January as gift-card redemptions dominate shopping in the post-Christmas period.

The top items that consumers say they want for this holiday season are: (1) gift cards (59%); (2) electronic gadgets (38%); and (3) electronic media (28%), which today spans music, CDs, DVDs and e-books. Interestingly, the ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey found that women are more inclined to want a gift card than men (63% versus 55%). However, men are more inclined to want electronic gadgets for their holiday gifts than women (46% versus 31%).

With the traditional holiday-season length being at its longest possible span this year (between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day is 32 days in 2012), consumers were asked when do they expect to finish their holiday-gift buying.  About a fifth (21%) reported they intend to complete it within November with Black Friday shopping alone accounting for about 60% of the November completion target (or 12% of the November-December total). A little less than a fifth (19%) expected that they would complete their shopping by the first week of December and 27% thought the second week of December was their likely completion time frame. Another 20% reported the third week of December was their expectation for completion, while just 3% were real procrastinators, expecting to finish on Christmas Eve or later.