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Consumers’ Holiday-Gift Spending to Drop This Year, Survey Says

Consumers’ Holiday-Gift Spending to Drop This Year
U.S. consumers will spend about 2 percent less on gifts this holiday season as shoppers remain concerned about a weak economy. Photographer: JB Reed/Bloomberg

U.S. consumers will spend about 2 percent less on gifts this holiday season as shoppers remain concerned about a weak economy, the Consumer Electronics Association estimated, citing an annual survey.

The average consumer will spend $750 on holiday gifts, the industry trade group said today in a statement. A third of the survey’s respondents said they planned to reduce spending for reasons related to unemployment, the association said.

“While the recession officially ended a year and half ago, consumers remain very cautious,” Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research, said in the statement. “Worries remain over the economy and employment picture.”

Electronic gadgets ranked as the most-sought gift, with shoppers expected to spend $232 each on average, a 5 percent increase from last year and the highest amount since tracking began in 1993, the Arlington, Virginia-based CEA said.

Notebook computers and Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet top the list of gifts, followed by clothes and electronic readers such as Seattle-based Inc.’s Kindle.

The telephone survey of 1,003 adults was conducted Sept. 24-27, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, the association said.

Separately today, the National Retail Federation estimated a 1 percent increase in per-consumer shopping, to $688.87. The survey was conducted for the Washington-based trade group by BIGresearch. Of the total, $518.08 will be spent on gifts, a 2.1 percent increase from 2009.

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