U.S. households to spend $497 on holiday gifts

New York City -- The Conference Board reported Wednesday that U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $497 on gifts this holiday season. Just 7% of consumers said they plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, while approximately 40% plan on spending less than last year.

“As the holiday season approaches, we once again find consumers in a frugal mood,” says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “With the overwhelming majority of consumers expecting to spend the same or less than they did last year, it’s not surprising that they expect a large share of their purchases to be on sale or discounted.”
 
Consumers will be heading to the malls and online searching for bargains. Four out of 10 holiday shoppers say they expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. An additional three out of 10 expect a quarter to half of their purchases to be discounted, according to the survey findings.

Close to two-thirds of consumers expect to purchase a portion of their holiday gifts online, with about 15% saying more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions was conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen.