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Consumers Entering Holiday Season More Joyful Than Gloomy with Plans to Give Gift Cards Top the List

Even after a year of recession, for some consumers ‘tis the season for a rise in spending. A new survey from American Express reports that 10 percent of consumers actually intend to open their wallets and spend more on holiday gifts relative to last year and 43 percent plan to spend about the same. In the next 30 days, more than one in five U.S. consumers (22%) expect to spend more when compared to the last 30 day period.

The latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the third in a monthly series, reports about consumers’ views on the economy, what they plan to spend on and what motivates them to spend or save. The research sample of 2011 adults included the general U.S. population1, as well as two subgroups – the affluent2 and young professionals3.

Attitude of Gratitude

Most consumers aren’t gloomy about the approaching holiday season. In fact, when given the choice of describing their attitude going into the holiday season as joyful or gloomy, 41 percent of the general population say they are “joyful”. Another 42 percent are even-keeled, saying they are "neither joyful nor gloomy" and only 13% have a "gloomy" attitude. More than two thirds of young professionals (69%) and more than half (53%) of the affluent report a joyful outlook.

“A personal need that I didn’t have before spending on the holidays” was the top reason given by consumers who expect to spend more on a particular item in the next 30 days (40% of the general population, 44% of young professionals and 40% of affluents). Notably, young professionals have a reason to gift-give: 28 percent say they’ve been saving and now have enough to spend and 28 percent are expecting an increase in income for themselves or from a spouse or partner.

“Even after more than a year of recession, the giving spirit shines brightly this holiday season,” said Pamela Codispoti, American Express senior vice president and general manager, Cardmember Services. “Consumers intend to spend on loved ones, with a plan to give more gift cards and electronics than other items and bringing a sharp eye for bargains. Even though Americans may pare down their gift lists a bit or not spend as much, a clear majority will do as much or more as last year when it comes to charitable giving.”

The Gift Card - Not Cash - Is King

The survey found that gift cards will be the gift of the season at 58 percent vs. all other gift selections.

•Nearly eight in ten (79%) consumers intend to utilize the Internet as a tool to help with holiday shopping: nearly half (45%) will use the Internet to purchase items, more than one in four (28%) will use it for hard-to-find items, 27 percent to research products, and a quarter will go online to simply look for gift ideas.

•Five in ten holiday buyers (50%) will most likely spend on clothing and accessories.

•Toys and games rank as the third most popular present this year with 41 percent.

•Only 27 percent of consumers plan to give cash as gifts (not including tips that may be given).

•Electronics are hot among young professionals with 37 percent expecting to give gifts such as iPods and MP3 players.

•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).

Datum: 16 November 2009
Bron: Press release American Express

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