Conference Board survey finds holiday shoppers in frugal mood

40% expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted

NEW YORK — U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $497 on gifts this holiday season, the Conference Board reported. Only 7% of consumers said they plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year, while approximately 49% plan on spending less than last year.

The survey of holiday gift spending intentions, based on a probability-design random sample, was conducted on behalf of the Conference Board in October by Nielsen.

"As the holiday season approaches, we once again find consumers in a frugal mood," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. "With the overwhelming majority of consumers expecting to spend the same or less than they did last year, it's not surprising that they expect a large share of their purchases to be on sale or discounted."

Four-out-of-10 holiday shoppers said they expect more than half of their purchases to be on sale or discounted. An additional 3-out-of-10 said they expect one-quarter to half of their purchases to be discounted.

Close to two-thirds of consumers expect to purchase a portion of their holiday gifts online, with about 15% saying more than half of their gifts will be purchased online.

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