Holiday apparel sales in the US should be more positive this year as pent-up consumer demand is released, according to a new survey.

The ongoing Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey, which interviews more than 500 people aged 13 to 70, found that apparel gifts were in “high demand” this holiday period after restrained spending earlier in the year.

“After two years of holding back on clothing purchases, consumers seem ready to open their holiday wallets and even their credit cards to buy for others and for themselves,” said Cotton Incorporated.

“For those that have been denying themselves apparel over the last couple of years, apparel will most likely figure prominently in holiday purchases.”

The survey also found that consumers were still looking for bargains, but planned to look beyond the mass merchants to find them.

Gift cards continue to be the favourite gift to give or receive, but apparel is now at number two on consumers’ shopping lists, up from number four in 2009.