Holiday consumers in the US retail market will spend less than last year in a renewed focus on value, according to research commissioned by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Shoppers will target a variety of locations and channels, said the Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, spending an average of US$704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down from $718.98 last year.

However, the survey predicted that retail sales in November and December would grow by 2.8% to $465.6bn. That’s because nearly 60% of consumers plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to make additional purchases for themselves and their families, the NRF said.

The average person will spend $130.43 to take advantage of sales on apparel and other items for themselves or a family member, up from $112.20 last year.

Department channels with unique private label items will be more popular this year, as will clothing and accessories stores and discount stores – and clothing and clothing accessories feature strongly on consumer wish lists.

“When it comes to retail growth this holiday season, slow and steady wins the race – and the same is true for shoppers, who are meticulously calculating the best ways to stretch their dollar,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

“Knowing their customers are more focused than ever on value, retailers will entice shoppers with promotions that go beyond discounts, whether they’re promoting free gifts with purchase, an extended warranty, or stellar customer service.”