Looks like Americans have gotten a jump on their holiday shopping this year, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
On Tuesday, the NRF said early October promotions offered by retail stores seemingly struck a chord with shoppers, as 53.8 percent of Americans say they’ve already started their holiday shopping.
The holiday consumer spending survey says 46.2 percent of consumers have yet to start shopping – the smallest percentage in the annual survey’s history.
NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay says consumers may be shopping early in order to spread out their budget and expenses. They may also be using the extra time to search for the best sales and compare prices.
According to the survey, the most popular gift items this year include clothing and fashion accessories. In fact, 60.7 percent -- or about six in 10 consumers -- plan to splurge on those items.
The survey says 59.2 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend their cash on gift cards, the most-requested gift item for the 7th year in a row.
Additionally, the NRF says 44.3 percent of consumers will buy toys as gifts, 23.3 percent will buy jewelry and 19 percent will buy sporting goods and other leisure items.
One-third of shoppers say they plan to buy electronics for their loved ones, including tablets, smart watches or computers and accessories.
Meanwhile, the NRF says shoppers will seek inspiration for gift ideas by taking to the internet and social media, with 47.9 percent of shoppers saying they’ll browse for holiday gift ideas online.
Another 21.5 percent will look to email advertisements for gift ideas, while 14 percent will use Facebook for shopping tips and 10.1 percent will use retailers’ apps.
Print ads will also serve shoppers well, as 36 percent say they’ll check out retailers’ advertising circulars, while 22.2 percent plan to peruse magazines and 33.7 percent say they’ll seek gift guidance from catalogs.
By the way, the NRF expects holiday retail sales to increase by at least 3.9 percent in 2013.
In comparison, last year the average holiday consumer spent $423 over Thanksgiving weekend, with 36 percent of millennials shopping on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The NRF says 129 million people shopped online on Cyber Monday in 2012, too.