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CE Holiday Demand Flat, Total Spending Down: NRF

Washington – Holiday demand for CE products is on par with last year, according to a new seasonal spending survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGinsight.

The survey, which polled 8,899 consumers Oct. 2-8, found that 35.8 percent would like to receive CE or computer-related accessories as a gift this holiday season, compared with 35.4 percent last year.

Gift cards were the most wished for present, cited by 61.3 percent of respondents, followed by apparel (49.1 percent) and books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games (45.7 percent).

Some wishes may be dashed though, as total gift spending will be down 10.2 percent, to $489.51 per shopper, the poll showed.

As for preferred shopping venue, 31.8 percent cited electronics stores among the places they plan to shop, dead even with last year’s tally.

On the cyber side, 51.8 percent said they plan to shop online, up from 46.7 percent last year, and more than a quarter plan to do as much as half their holiday shopping via the web, up from 24.4 percent last year.

In addition, 32.9 percent plan to use their smartphones to research products and compare prices, up from 31 percent last year, and 15 percent will make purchases from their smartphones, up from 14.1 percent last year.

However, nearly a quarter said they will use their smartphones to look up store information (hours, location, directions, etc.).

In contrast, 44.2 percent will use their tablet computers to research products and compare prices, down from 50.8 percent last year, and 30 percent will use their tablets to make purchases, down from 34.8 percent last year.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they own a smartphone or tablet computer, up from 50.2 percent in 2011.

Respondents cited sales or price discounts as the most important factor in choosing a particular retailer (36.6 percent), followed by selection (16.1 percent). Only 5.9 percent said helpful, knowledgeable customer service was the key determinant of where they choose to shop.

Most shoppers (40.5 percent) plan to start their holiday shopping in November.