When given the choice of describing their attitude going into the holiday season as joyful or gloomy, 41% of the general population say they are "joyful". 42% are even-keeled, saying they are "neither joyful nor gloomy," and only 13% have a "gloomy" attitude. 69% of young professionals and 53% of the affluent report a joyful outlook.
10% of consumers plan to spend more this year than last on holiday gifts, and 43% about the same. 58% favor gift cards as the go-to present of the season versus all other gift selections. The best way to a "consumer's heart," according to the study, is apparently with a 30% discount.
In the next 30 days 22% of U.S. consumers expect to spend more when compared to the last 30 day period. Notably, 28% of young professionals say they've been saving and now have enough to spend, and 28% are expecting an increase in income for themselves or from a spouse or partner.
On the flip side, 22% of consumers say they will whittle down the number of people on their list. In general, if consumers have to make a choice to cut someone from their list in order to stay within their budget:
Members of the immediate family, pets and close friends are the safest:
Pamela Codispoti, American Express senior vice president and general manager, Cardmember Services, says "Even after more than a year of recession... consumers intend to spend on loved ones, with a plan to give more gift cards and electronics than other items... (and) a clear majority will do as much or more as last year when it comes to charitable giving."
79% of consumers intend to utilize the Internet as a tool to help with holiday shopping:
In terms of the largest and most expensive single purchase holiday buyers will make, consumers expect to spend the most on technology gifts (with an average gift costing $450) followed by gift cards (with an average gift costing $270). The spending increases for affluents, with averages of $590 for technology and $350 for gift cards respectively.
Young professionals are more likely to give entertainment-related gifts such as movie or theatre tickets (38%) or experiential gifts (24%) vs. the general population (18% and 7% respectively).
63% of consumers expect to do some type of charitable giving over the holidays, despite the fact that 54% of consumers say that as a result of the economy they will be cutting back on the number of gifts they purchase. 69% plan to do more or the same when it comes to charity this holiday as they did last year. 22% of young professionals say they plan to do more compared to last year.
36% of general population favor donating money to an organization is the top way consumers like to give. Other gift and charitable considerations include:
The study found that price discounts are the top motivator for getting consumers into the checkout line. And free shipping, a free gift with purchase and bonus reward points motivate holiday shoppers as they think about making purchases.