Home prices are down, the economy is flagging, but U.S. consumers are ready to shop for the holidays - more than last year. Some will alter their habits, shopping smarter by looking for deals, shopping online and, with gas prices what they are, shopping closer to home. But they're still opening their wallets. The numbers in the studies vary, but they project an overall 2008 holiday spending increase.
Deloitte Research, a subsidiary of Deloitte Services LP, predicts holiday sales, not including motor vehicles and gas, will increase 2.5 to 3 percent between November 2008 and January 2009.
The National Retail Federation projects an increase in holiday spending of 2.2 percent year over year.
An Archstone Consulting study suggests a 0.5 to 1 percent increase in holiday spending this year.
TNS Retail Forward predicts 1.5 percent growth in 2008 over fourth quarter 2007.
About 25 percent of consumers surveyed by retail researcher NPD Group indicated they would spend less money this holiday season. Eleven percent said they will spend more.
According to a new Rasmussen poll, 25 percent of American consumers will spend the same amount on holiday gifts as in 2007; 10 percent will spend more.
TNS Retail Forward projects a 9 percent growth in holiday sales from 2007 to 2008 for online retailers.
he following 2008 holiday shopping trends were identified by Iconoculture, a research company studying how the current economic climate will affect holiday shopping:
Bargains: Shoppers won't pay as much per purchase in 2008; they are looking for discounts at the POS.
Ship it later: Due to increased air travel costs, more people will stay home for the holidays. Smart shoppers will buy gifts for distant loved ones at post-Christmas sales and ship them after the rush.
Gift cards: Gift cards may hold smaller dollar amounts than in 2007, but they will still be a popular gift in 2008.
Me too: Weary shoppers will reward themselves for sacrificing throughout the year by getting a few things for themselves at holiday sale prices.
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