Consumers may spend more on holiday gifts this year

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U.S. households plan to spend an average of $576 on gifts this holiday season, up from $538 last year.

The Conference Board reported that about 11 percent of consumers say they plan to spend more this year, up from about 8 percent who said that last year.

About 27 percent plan to spend less, down from 32 percent. The remaining 62 percent plan to spend about the same as last year.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions, based on a probability-design random sample, was done for The Conference Board by Nielsen. The survey was done in October as part of The Conference Board’s consumer confidence survey.

“Continued job growth, low gas prices and a relatively confident consumer will help boost retail sales this holiday season,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “While this season is shaping up to surpass last year’s, consumers are still unwilling to pay full price for gifts. The majority say they will be on the lookout for bargains and incentives.”

More than three in five holiday shoppers say they expect that at least a quarter of their purchases will be on sale or discounted.

And the number of consumers shopping online continues to grow. Nearly three-quarters say they expect to purchase at least some of their holiday gifts online; more than one in four say that more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

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