Consumers expected to spend $400 more this year than last for holidays

Mobile, social networks to see significant boost in usage

NEW YORK — Consumers are holiday shopping sooner and spending more this year due to a late Thanksgiving and shorter holiday shopping season, according to a new survey by American Express.

The latest American Express Spending and Saving Tracker indicates that shoppers will spend $1,260 this year — up $400 from last year — and 27% are already looking for deals and plan to finish before Dec. 1, from 24% last year. Thirty-seven percent expect to finish shopping the week before Christmas, compared with 33% last year.

"We're seeing an increased intent to spend among consumers as we head into the critical holiday shopping season, suggesting strong enthusiasm for hitting the aisles this year," American Express SVP U.S. consumer lending products David Rabkin said. "This is good news for retailers who might be concerned that the shorter shopping season will impact their sales."

For the first time, Cyber Monday — when many consumers go online to look for deals — is beating out Black Friday as the most popular shopping day, with 55% of consumers looking online instead of fighting the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, compared with 39% last year; 52% plan to go shopping on Black Friday.

Top shopping destinations this year will include superstores, department stores — where 62% of people plan to shop, compared with 48% last year — small businesses and other mainstream retail stores. Sixty-six percent plan to take advantage of offers via social media sites, compared with 60% last year. Fifty-one percent will use their mobile devices to shop, up from 32% last year, while 25% plan to browse for gift ideas, and 20% will compare prices with barcode scanning apps.


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