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Forecasts Predict Rise in Holiday Spending

The peak holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and two recent consumer sales forecasts, from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and online shopping site PriceGrabber®, show a projected increase in retail sales this holiday season.

The NRF predicts that retail sales this November and December will increase 4.1 percent over the same two months in 2011, to $586.1 billion. Tempered by political and fiscal uncertainties but supported by signs of improvement in consumer confidence, this forecast is higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent.

“This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession. In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Variables, including an upcoming presidential election, confusion surrounding the ‘fiscal cliff’ and concern relating to future economic growth, could all combine to affect consumers’ spending plans, but overall we are optimistic that retailers promotions will hit the right chord with holiday shoppers.”

According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey, conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they spent during the holiday season in 2011. When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. And flowers will account for an average $19.55 per consumer.

Results of a new survey from PriceGrabber® reveal that 62 percent of consumers are planning to spend the same (50 percent) or more (12 percent) this holiday season than in 2011. This compares favorably to last holiday season, when 48 percent said they would spend the same amount as they did during the 2010 holiday season and only 7 percent said they would spend more.

Of the consumers who indicated they will spend more this holiday season, 42 percent said they are making more money this year, 34 percent attributed their decision to better prices on gifts, 22 percent said they have confidence in the economy, 13 percent said they will spend more due to increased credit limits and 8 percent are simply “tired of being frugal.”

The PriceGrabber survey also indicated that shoppers are on the lookout for bargains this season, with 67 percent of respondents saying they believe retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year. What retailer tactics are most likely to entice them to buy?

• free shipping (77%)
(For florists, this could translate to free delivery.)

• price cuts (74%)

• coupons (55%)

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WildFlower Media Inc.