New research from the National Retail Federation confirms that smartphones and tablets will play a major part in shoppers’ holiday foraging, with 52.6% of smartphone owners using them to sniff out purchases. And those who own tablets are even more keen on shopper technology, with 70.5% of tablet owners planning to shop with them.
Mostly, they plan to research products (31% of smartphone users and 50.8% of tablet owners); look up retailer information, such as location or hours (25.1% and 33.8%); make a purchase (14.1% and 34.8%); and redeem coupons (17.3% and 21.5%).
But they’ll be spending less. The NRF’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, concludes that shoppers plan to spend about $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down from last year’s $718.98. (But overall spending is expected to rise, and earlier this month, the NRF forecast a 2.8% rise in holiday spending to $465.6 billion. While that tepid gain is in line with many other forecasts, it is still a snowflake or two above the 2.6% average of the last 10 years.)
And increasingly, consumers say their holiday spending is less about the holidays and more about bargain-hunting. About six in 10 holiday shoppers (59.9%) say they plan to take advantage of retailers’ sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves and their families, up from $112.20 last year.
Gifts still amount for the biggest bite of the budget, with an average spending of $403.26 on kids, parents and other family members, and another $68.23 on friends, co-workers and even pets. The typical consumer also anticipates spending $46.73 on decorations, $26.52 on greeting cards, $96.75 on food and candy, and $18.23 on flowers.
While some surveys have shown that discounters are slipping a little as Americans’ favorite way to shop, this survey finds that a few more people, 66.1% vs. 65.1% last year, plan to spend money there. Department stores are also gaining in popularity, with 56.9% planning department-store buys, versus 54.5% last year.
But the big gainers are likely to be online retailers, with 46.7% of consumers in the survey planning to purchase something online, up from 43.9% last year. More tellingly, those online consumers plan to do just over a third of their shopping, 36%, via the Internet. And adults between 25 and 34 day say they intend to do 43.7% of shopping online.
And gift cards will again loom large: For the fifth year in a row, and at the highest level in the survey’s history, 57.7% of shoppers say they’d like to receive one this year.