December 08, 2008

Holiday Shoppers Plan To Spend Nearly 10% Less This Year, According To Discover(R) Card Holiday Shopping Survey

Holiday Shoppers Cite Concerns about the Economy;Consumer Electronics Top 2008 Season "Wish List"

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 8, 2008--Discover(R) Card today released its annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which assesses consumer spending trends and gift intentions for the 2008 holiday season. On average, shoppers expect to spend nearly 10 percent less this year than in 2007, according to the survey. More than half (55 percent) of respondents say they plan to cut back. Of these, 89 percent said the economy had an influence on their decision to do so.

Key survey findings include:

  • On average, shoppers plan to spend $831 on holiday gifts, compared to $896 in last year's survey. Women plan to spend more than men - $965 versus $705, respectively.
  • o In 2007, the average amount people planned to spend was $896.
  • Forty-five percent of shoppers plan to spend between $100 and $500 this holiday season while approximately a quarter (27 percent) anticipate spending anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
    • In 2007, 42 percent of consumers planned to spend between $100 and $500 on gifts, and 26 percent planned to spend from $500 to $1,000.
  • As the holidays approach, 72 percent of respondents said they believed they would stay within their shopping budget.
    • In 2007, the survey revealed that almost three quarters of shoppers (73 percent) said they would stay within their shopping budget.
  • A similar number (74 percent) of shoppers say they are very concerned, concerned or somewhat concerned about their finances.

"The economy is clearly weighing on many minds this holiday season, and the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey reveals that most shoppers are determined to stick to their budgets even as they hunt for that extra-special gift," said Ryan Garton, director of customer insights for Discover Financial Services.

Popular Gifts This Holiday Season:

Discover Card's Holiday Shopping survey also highlighted popular gifts and spending categories. Apparel topped the list for giving and consumer electronics for receiving.


24%Apparel                             23%Consumer electronics

19%Toys                                20%Apparel

16%Consumer electronics                19%CD's/books/DVD's or video games

14%CD's/books/DVD's or video games     13%Home items

11%Home items                          10%Jewelry

4% Jewelry                             2% Toys

"Holiday shoppers on a budget this year can take advantage of several ways Discover Card is helping cardmembers stretch their dollar," said Garton. "Through January 4, cardmembers can receive an instant $20 Discover Gift Card when they spend $200 on their Discover Card at 160 participating malls. Online shoppers can also enjoy savings through Discover Card's online shopping portal, ShopDiscover, where they can earn 5%-20% Cashback Bonus(R) or Double Miles at top retailers."

Fifty-nine percent of respondents plan to give someone a gift card this holiday season, and 64 percent said they would be thrilled to receive a general purpose gift card that would allow them to buy whatever they want. Asked how they would spend a general purpose gift card, respondents favored treating themselves to something special (61 percent), going out to dinner (54 percent) and buying groceries or other necessities (53 percent).

Returning and Re-Gifting Trends

When asked how often they return gifts, more than half of respondents (58 percent) said they keep most gifts, but every once in a while, they receive something that they return. Thirty-eight percent said that they never return gifts.

While 18 percent admitted to being "regifters," most (48 percent) respondents said they were horrified by the idea of passing on a gift they had received to someone else.

To see the 2007 Discover Holiday Shopping Survey results, click here

About the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey

Discover Card's Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted by telephone with a total of 1,004 nationally representative adults (502 males and 502 females). The research was conducted from November 13-16, 2008 by Opinion Research Corporation.

About Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. The company operates the Discover Card, America's cash rewards pioneer. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. Its payments businesses consist of the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Discover Financial Services
Mai-Lee Ua
Public Relations
(224) 405-3082

Source: Discover Financial Services