Shopping lists may be a little shorter this coming holiday season due to tighter budgets, according to the new American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. But when it comes to what will make it onto those holiday lists, more consumers are planning to splurge on technology buys like smartphones and tablets.
This year holiday spending will be down to 2012 with people planning on spending just $842 this year. That’s down from last year’s average spend of $1,260, but on par with the $848 they spent in 2012. Technology is also slated to play a big role in helping people get the most for their money, with many planning on using their personal technology to find the best deals and products.
Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday?
Will shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday or wait to do their shopping virtually from home or work on Cyber Monday? This year more people say they will be shopping in real time, but when compared to last year’s numbers, retailers may end up reporting a drop in Thanksgiving shopping week sales. Less than half of the people surveyed plan to head out to stores on Black Friday at 48% vs. 52% in 2013. Fewer will be shopping on Cyber Monday too, with 46% vs. 55% in 2013 saying they plan to shop online that day.
However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may not mean what they once did to consumers, with people reporting that they will be shopping throughout the holiday season starting as early as October. But many plan to wait until the last minute, with a whopping 60% planning to shop from December 15 to 24. And that includes the 7% that expect to be out shopping on Christmas Eve.
Tech gives shoppers a boost
While shopping in stores may be popular, technology will play a big role in overall shopping this season. The number of people shopping with smartphones and tablets is expected to grow by 53% over 2012.
This year people will be using their personal technology to:
- Make purchases (up 46% since 2013)
- Get deals with mobile apps (up 46% since 2013)
- Compare prices on a variety of websites (up 23% since 2013)
- Shop for gift ideas (up 8% since 2013)
Even with tech gifts on the rise gift cards are still the most popular present, and 16% of people will be using their unused cards to buy gifts.
The most popular gifts this year are:
The survey was conducted between September 17 and 20 and was completed by 1,500 adults.