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Tech Will Top Toys This Holiday Season: ICSC

Consumers will spend more on electronics this holiday season than any other category except for traditional gift cards, a new survey suggests.

According to a poll commissioned by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), more than half (51 percent) of Americans said they are planning to buy CE this quarter, followed by apparel (49 percent), toys (42 percent), and food and beverages (34 percent).

The trade group is projecting total holiday spending to increase 3.3 percent this year, outpacing the average of the previous 10 seasons by 1.5 percentage points.

That still trails a separate 3.7 percent holiday forecast from the National Retail Federation (NRF), and a 3.4 percent prediction by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

“With gas prices and unemployment down, and housing prices up, holiday shoppers are heading into the season with increased confidence in their spending power,” said ICSC spokesman Jesse Tron. “While certain headwinds exist, such as uncertainty in global financial markets and minimal wage growth in the U.S., the positive macroeconomic trends are likely to win out and propel retail sales throughout the holiday season.”

  Among other findings:

* 90 percent of consumers plan to shop this holiday season, up from 82 percent last year;

* 80 percent plan to spend the same or more than in 2014, for an average of $702, up from $677;

* of that, $575 will be on gifts and $127 will be on holiday-related items like decorations and greeting cards;

* the highest income group polled ($100,000-plus) will spend $1,062 on average, and those with incomes less than $35,000 will spend an average of $500; and

* 95 percent of holiday shoppers intend to make an in-store purchases in order to see the merchandise (46 percent); save on shipping (36 percent); and take advantage of store-only sales (30 percent), easier returns or exchanges (28 percent), and the convenience of one-stop shopping (27 percent).

As to when consumers will do their shopping:

* 66 percent will start shopping before Thanksgiving;

* 12 percent plan to make purchases on Thanksgiving Day;

* 41 percent will shop on Black Friday;

* 65 percent are planning to have their holiday shopping completed by Dec. 15; and

* 8 percent plan to shop on Christmas Eve.

The survey was conducted online by Opinion Research from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, and represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 2,001 adults 18 years of age and older.