Survey Shows Consumer Holiday Shopping Preferences

gift cardSome 51% of customers plan to use a smartphone app to compare prices and 31% say they would use a mobile wallet for their purchases.

Twice as many Americans are planning to increase their spending during the 2013 holiday season compared to just three years ago, according to the Discover Holiday Shopping Survey commissioned by Discover Financial Services.

Half of Americans plan to spend between $500 and $5,000, compared to just 40% who planned to spend that much in 2012.

In addition to the positive spending shift, consumers are also shifting how they plan to shop, as evidenced by the growing role of technology. The vast majority of consumers (84%), say they will shop both in-store and online, up from 60% in 2012. In addition, 51% plan to use a smartphone app to compare prices and 31% say they would use a mobile wallet for their purchases.

Consumers Are Geared Up to Spend
This holiday season, Americans plan to spend an average of $1,014, a 20% increase over 2012. The percentage of consumers who plan to increase their spending has doubled since 2010, from 13% to 27%. Men are particularly bullish about shopping, as their spending plans have increased by 15 percentage points since 2010 to 31%. In comparison, 22% of women will spend more this year, an increase of 12 percentage points since 2010.

More than half, 52%, have a budget for the holiday season. Women with a budget slightly increased in number from last year, 55% compared to 53%, while men with a budget slightly decreased, at 48% compared to 50%.

Thirty-one percent of consumers plan to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday shopping, up 5% from 2012. Nineteen percent of consumers plan to spend between $1,000 and $5,000, also up 5% from 2012.

Key Spending Drivers
As consumers consider the factors most likely to influence their holiday spending, retailer’s sales and promotions take the lead, followed by household expenses and existing debt obligations:

    Retailers’ sales and promotions, 44%

    Household expenses, 27%

    Existing debt obligations, 14%

Americans plan to spend more at restaurants than on apparel this holiday shopping season. Exactly half of consumers plan to spend between $100 and $500 at restaurants. Eighty percent of shoppers plan to spend less than $500 on apparel, comprised of 40% who plan to spend less than $100 and 40% who plan to spend between $100 and $500.

Cash remains the respondents’ favorite way to pay for their purchases; 55% plan to use cash to make their holiday purchases, while 29% plan to use credit. Of those who will use credit, 40% will use their accumulated credit card rewards to supplement their shopping.

Customer service is also a driving force for holiday purchases in 2013, as 49% of Americans say a bad customer service experience will affect their decision to shop with a particular retailer again.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Matter of Preference
The majority of shoppers, 70%, plan to take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, comprised of 40% of shoppers planning to brave the crowds on Black Friday and 30% planning to go online for Cyber Monday. Additionally, one-third of shoppers will do a majority of their shopping on one of these days.

Consumers are not likely to go into Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday blind, as 76% of consumers plan to research the deals ahead of time. While scouting the sales, consumers will employ a range of tactics, including researching newspapers and online news sites, 42%; retailers’ Websites/promotional emails, 33%; social media, 8%; and TV/radio, 8%.

Americans prefer Black Friday because they say the shopping holiday offers better sales, at 41%. Additional factors influence shoppers’ willingness to face the crowds, including 21% preferring to see items in-store, and 20% upholding family tradition.

Convenience is king for Cyber Monday shoppers as 63% say they appreciate the ease of online shopping. Nearly a quarter, 24%, say they find better sales, and 11% prefer the ability to easily compare prices.

No matter consumers’ preference between the two big shopping events, shoppers top purchases will be electronics, clothing, toys and jewelry:

    Electronics, 87%

    Clothing, 71%

    Toys, 58%

    Jewelry, 30%

The Discover Annual Holiday Shopping Survey was an online poll of 1,005 American adults, 502 male and 503 female. The poll was conducted online between Sept. 24 and Oct. 22, 2013, by Penn Schoen and Berland.



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