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Nov. 2004

The average consumer expects to spend $700 on the holidays, up 4.5% from last year, according to a National Retail Federation survey. Total holiday spending this year is estimated to reach $219.9 billion.

A total of 22.6% of those surveyed said they wanted jewelry for the holidays, according to NRF 2004 Holiday survey.

Books, CDs, DVDs, videos, and video games held the highest ranking, with 53.1% of consumers hoping for one of these items. Clothing and clothing accessories also continue to rank high with shoppers at 50.6%. More than half of consumers (50.2%) want to receive a gift card. Other items on consumers’ wish lists include consumer electronics (32.6%) and home décor (21.3%).

Average consumers will spend most of their holiday budget on gifts for family ($406.52) and friends ($71.29), according to the survey. More than half of consumers (51.2%) plan to take advantage of sales this holiday season to make non-gift purchases for themselves or their families.

The majority (41.8%) of those surveyed say that sales or price discounts are the most important factors when choosing to shop at a particular store. Other consumers shop at stores based on their selection of merchandise (20.0%), quality (8.7%), or location (7.8%).

About 18% of consumers started their holiday shopping before September, and 6.9% started in September. Nearly 18% beginning in October., 34.3% in November and nearly one in four (23.1%) waiting until December.

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