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    Holiday Season Sees Heightened Spending

    Sixty-two percent to spend the same or more compared to last year: PriceGrabber

    Sixty-two percent of consumers plan to spend the same or more this holiday season compared to the same time last year, revealing optimism for both consumers and retailers for the year’s end.

    According to PriceGrabber’s first winter holiday shopping survey, 50 percent of shoppers plan to spend the same amount compared to last year – up slightly from 48 percent in 2011 – and 12 percent plan to spend more, up 7 percent from last year.

    Consumers are positive about the upcoming holiday season

    Of those consumers who indicated that they will spend more this year, 42 percent said they would do so because they’re making more money this year, 34 percent attributed their decision to better prices on gifts, 22 percent said they have confidence in the economy, 13 percent said they will spend more due to an increased credit limit, and 8 percent are tired of being frugal.

    For those who indicated they plan to spend less money on holiday shopping in 2012, 62 percent attributed their spending decision to an increase in food prices, gas and other necessities. Forty-one percent indicated that they are earning less money this year and 39 percent said they planned to spend less due to an acceptance of giving less expensive gifts. The economy continues to impact consumers’ holiday shopping decisions, as the survey found that 64 percent of shoppers say the economic climate will affect their overall spending.

    Shoppers are looking forward to better pricing and discounts this holiday season

    Shoppers appear to be confident in their ability to find a holiday bargain this season. According to PriceGrabber’s findings, 67 percent of consumers believe that retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. When asked what retailer tactics will entice them to buy a product this holiday season, 77 percent of respondents indicated free shipping, 74 percent noted price cuts, 55 percent said coupons, and 44 percent indicated blow-out sales.

    “Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 59 percent of consumers plan to start shopping even earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, compared to 53 percent in 2011,” said Rojeh Avanesian, VP of marketing and analytics for Los Angeles-based PriceGrabber. “Our data indicates that 17 percent of consumers plan to start their holiday shopping in September and 31 percent plan to begin in October this year.”

    Consumers will research gift purchases in advance to save money

    In order to maintain their holiday budgets this year, more shoppers will use the Internet to conduct research on products and pricing before making holiday purchases. Eighty-eight percent of PriceGrabber survey respondents indicated that they will conduct online research in advance to find the best deals. Of those respondents, 38 percent plan to spend three to six hours researching holiday gift purchases, 29 percent plan to spend up to two hours, 19 percent said they plan to spend over 10 hours, and 14 percent indicated between seven and 10 hours.

    “Our survey findings indicate that consumers are still budget conscience and will continue to do their research to find the best pricing on products when holiday shopping this year,” said Avanesian.  He added that many shoppers will visit discount retailers online to “find deals, compare prices, set price alerts, print coupons, and take advantage of online promotional codes and free shipping to save extra cash.”

    PricerGrabber conducted its winter holiday shopping survey between Aug. 31 and Sept. 12; respondents included 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers.

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