The International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. (ICSC) and Goldman Sachs’ 2009 Holiday Spending Survey found that consumers plan to spend about $543 during this year’s holiday season on gifts with another $133 on gift cards. Consumers expect to spend more this year on gift purchases than last year, but less on gift cards.
Consumers reported that shopping on Black Friday— the Friday (November 27) after Thanksgiving Day— is likely to be more important this season as 16% of respondents expect to begin their holiday gift shopping on that day. This is marked increase from prior years, which have ranged from 10% in 2007 and 2008 to a previous high of 13% in 2006.
“This pattern is not totally surprising,” said Michelle Tan, Global Investment Research analyst with Goldman Sachs. “Traffic has been increasingly concentrated in key shopping periods with deeper lulls in between and these survey results suggest that this trend will continue during the 2009 holiday season,” noted Tan.
“Bargain hunting will continue to be an important element of the consumers’ holiday shopping strategy,” noted Michael P. Niemira, ICSC’s director/research and chief economist. However, Niemira observed that “Despite what consumers now expect, ICSC Research thinks the holiday spending performance will be better than these pre-season consumer expectations, which is often the case following business cycle turning points in the economy.”