The average person is set to spend US$805.65 this holiday season

The average person is set to spend US$805.65 this holiday season

US consumers plan to spend more in what is set to be a "very digital holiday season" this year, as shoppers look to take advantage of retailers' promotions and discounts. 

According to the National Retail Federation's annual Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average person will spend US$805.65 – the highest amount in the survey's history, and up from last year's estimated $804.42 and actual $802.45 spend. 

Spending on gifts for family members will total $462.95, up from $458.75 last year and also a survey high. 

“Despite the challenges that still exist in our economy, it looks as if consumers are eager to celebrate the holidays with friends and family this year,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. 

Overall, he said, consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a “healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution”. 

While 52.9% of respondents plan to shop online, down from last year's expectations of 56%, the average shopper is expected to do 46.1% of their shopping online, up from 44.4% a year ago. Most shoppers say they will shop at discount (55.9%) and department stores (55.6%), while 33.4% will shop at clothing or accessory stores. 

Some 46.7% said free shipping/shipping promotions are important factors in their decision on where to shop. 

And there will be a high level of mobile engagement among holiday shoppers, according to the NRF, with 21.4% of smartphone owners expected to use their device to buy merchandise this year, the highest yet. 

Consumers are also set to spend more on themselves and/or others for non-gift items, this year - $131.59, up from $126.37 last year. 

The survey also found that 40% of holiday shoppers will start buying before Halloween, 41.5% in November, and 18.7% will begin in December. 

“We continue to see positive momentum in retail sales growth, giving us reason to believe consumers will show up this holiday season as they look to take advantage of all of retailers’ promotional offerings,” he said. 

“In an effort to attract all shoppers – from the extremely price sensitive to the online millennial, retailers will be offering exclusive incentives, low prices, price-matching, top toys and everyone’s favourite – free shipping and buy online pick up in store offers.”