NEW YORK —
Consumers plan to spend more this holiday season, but will do so more carefully, a new survey from Deloitte shows.
According to the financial services firm’s 25th Annual Holiday Survey, which assesses spending intentions and trends, the economy is still weighing heavily on consumers, even if their circumstances are stabilizing or improving.
Among the findings, consumers plan to spend a total of $466 on gifts, the first increase since 2004, although the average number of gifts fell for the third consecutive year, to 16.8.
Specifically, six out of 10 (62 percent) of survey respondents plan to spend more or the same on the holidays, a 11 percentage point rise from last year’s survey and the highest level since 2006.
However, consumers will maintain a careful approach to spending, with nearly three-quarters (73 percent) planning to change the way they shop this holiday season in an effort to save money. Among the changes, almost half (46 percent) of those surveyed intend to purchase more gifts with cash than they have in the past, and 36 percent say they have permanently cut back the amount of money they spend.
In addition, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents will use the Internet to guide their holiday purchasing decisions. More than one out of 10 (12 percent) will turn to social networks for information such as gift ideas and coupons, discounts and sale information this holiday season, while that number jumps to 25 percent among Generation Y respondents ages 18 to 29.
What’s more, nearly one out of five respondents (17 percent) plans to use their smartphones in the holiday shopping process, with more than half (56 percent) of smartphone shoppers using their devices to compare prices, up from 45 percent in 2009.
The survey also showed that gift cards remain the present of choice for both giving and receiving.
Still, consumers’ economic outlook is still a mixed bag. Two-thirds (66 percent) indicate their household financial situation is the same or better than last year at this time, a 10 percentage point rise from 2009, although fewer consumers (39 percent) expect the economy to improve next year, down from 54 percent in 2009.
For more information about Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, visit