“According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, holiday shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98. The NRF is still forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during the months of November and December to $465.6 billion.

With lists in hand and a set budget in mind, people this year plan to shop around with a variety of retailers for holiday gifts and merchandise. Department stores, with unique private-label offerings, will see an increase in traffic over last year (56.9 percent vs. 54.5 percent last year), as will clothing or accessory stores (35.2 percent vs. 33.6 percent), drug stores (21.1 vs. 18.9), and grocery stores and supermarkets (48.8 vs. 46.7), and most will head to discount stores (66.1 vs. 65.1). Crafts and fabric stores will benefit from those looking to make personal and thoughtful gifts (17.5 vs. 16.1 percent).

When asked which one factor will be most important when shopping this holiday season, sales or price discounts largely win out (41.6 percent), but customer service (6.0 percent vs. 5.3 percent last year) and quality of merchandise (14.6 vs. 12.7) are continuing to become more vital components in consumers’ decision making processes, highlighting the growing importance of value when it comes to gift and everyday shopping.”

Check out the whole article at Progressive Grocer!

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