Most adults plan to buy gifts on Black Friday weekend, but fiscal cliff casts shadow

CEA survey finds shoppers plan to boost spending this season

ARLINGTON, Va. — More than half of U.S. adults plan to buy holiday gifts during Thanksgiving weekend, according to a new survey from the Consumer Electronics Association.

The survey found that 60% will buy gifts during Black Friday weekend, with the average adult planning to spend $218 between Thursday and Monday, compared with $159 last year. At the same time, the "fiscal cliff" may affect their holiday spending. Overall, consumers plan to spend $842 on gifts this year.

Thirty-seven percent plan to shop on Black Friday, with 33% going to a retail store and 20% shopping online; Saturday and Monday will see 34% and 25% of respondents shopping, respectively. Fifty-seven percent plan to buy at least one gift, a 10% increase over last year.

"The 2012 Thanksgiving weekend has the potential to be the biggest shopping weekend on record," CEA chief economist and senior director of research Shawn DuBravac said. "A full 66% of shoppers haven't completed any of their holiday shopping, but on average, by the end of the weekend, consumers expect to have completed some 30% of their holiday shopping."

Shoppers with tablets and smartphones plan to use them to help find gifts, with 69% of adults using a mobile device while shopping or researching gifts. Forty-seven percent will use them to get more information about products, 44% will use them to comparison shop, and 39% will use them to look up retailer information.

At the same time, 51% said the impending fiscal cliff would have an adverse effect on their spending during the holiday season, as well as the amount of money they spend on gifts, while 18% said it was going to have a significant effect.


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