Holiday Spending Up; Online Research Significant

According to the PriceGrabber first winter holiday shopping survey, 50% of consumers plan to spend the same amount during the 2012 winter holiday shopping season that they spent last year, up slightly from 48% in 2011. 12% plan to spend more, a positive increase compared with 7% last year. 54% expect to spend $500 or more.

Of those consumers who indicated that they will spend more money this holiday season compared with last year, 42% said they are making more money this year, 34% attributed their decision to better prices on gifts, 22% said they have confidence in the economy, 13% said they will spend more due to increased credit limit, and 8% are tired of being frugal.

62% attributed their decision to spend less money on holiday shopping in 2012 to an increase in prices for food, gas and other necessities. 41% indicated that they are earning less money this year, and 39% said they planned to spend less due to an increased acceptance of giving less-expensive gifts. The report says that 64% of shoppers say the economic climate will affect their overall spending.

Stores Preferred By Holiday Shoppers

Store Type

% of Respondents

Online retailers


Discount stores


Traditional department stores


Local independent retailers


Electronic stores


Clothing stores


Luxury department stores


Source: PriceGrabber, October 2012; (N.B. The survey includes responses from 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers)

Shoppers expect to find a holiday bargain this season, as 67% of consumers said retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. When asked what retailer tactics will entice consumers to buy a product this holiday season,

  • 77% of respondents indicated free shipping
  • 74% noted price cuts
  • 55% said coupons
  • 44% indicated blow out sales

Rojeh Avanesian , vice president of marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber, says that "... 59% of consumers plan to start shopping even earlier this year... compared to 53% in 2011... 17% of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in September and 31% plan to begin in October... "

Consumers’ Planned Top Gift Selections (% of Respondents)

Planned Gift Type

% of Respondents



Gift cards


Books, CDs, DVDs, Video games




Shoes & hobby items




Food or candy


Sporting goods


Cosmetics & spa gifts


Source: Source: PriceGrabber, October 2012; (N.B. The survey includes responses from 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers)

More shoppers will use the Internet to conduct research on products and pricing before making holiday purchases, says the report. 88% of respondents indicated that they will research their holiday gift purchases in advance to find the best deals. Of those respondents:

  • 38% plan to spend three to six hours researching holiday gift purchases
  • 29% plan to spend up to two hours
  • 19% said they plan to spend over 10 hours
  • 14% indicated between seven and 10 hours

Respondents expect the best holiday deals to be:

  • After the Thanksgiving holiday   33%
  • Black Friday            28%
  • Month of December   23%
  • Cyber Monday            16%

Avanesian concludes that "... consumers are still budget conscience and will continue to do their research... (to) find deals, compare prices, set price alerts, print coupons, take advantage of online promotional codes and free shipping... “

For more information about the study and PriceGrabber, please visit them here.


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