North American consumers during the holidays can be divided mostly into two categories: very early shoppers and very big procrastinators.
According to Nielsen’s 2013 Holiday Spending Forecast, 22% of consumers have already started their holiday shopping, but 60% plan to wait a while before even thinking about doing so.
Nielsen expects this holiday shopping season will be "marginally stronger than last year," with dollar sales rising about 2%, thanks to more confidence in consumers. However, even with the increase in overall consumer sentiment, there are still plenty of people feeling the effects of the Great Recession: 20% of consumers say they have no spare cash, and 68% say they still feel like they’re in a recession. With respect to spending ability, 52% say they’re limited to spending on only the basics.
Only 6% of US consumers will spend more than $1,000 this on gifts this season—but according to a recent survey commissioned by Staples Canada, roughly 20% of Canadians will spend that amount or more.
The most popular gift this year will be gift cards, following by tech products, then toys. Food, apparel, video games, cookware, sporting goods, jewellery, and alcohol round out the top 10.