December 06, 2010

Discover 2010 Holiday Shopping Survey: Fewer Plan To Cut Holiday Spending This Season

Less Last-Minute Deal Shopping, Less Re-Gifting, More Expensive Brands

RIVERWOODS, Ill., Dec 06, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Fewer Americans plan to spend less money this season on holiday shopping than last year, according to Discover Financial Services' annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which examines holiday spending intentions and trends for the upcoming holiday season.

When asked about their spending intentions for the holidays, 38 percent of survey respondents reported planning to spend less, compared with 43 percent who indicated they'd planned to spend less in 2009. Thirteen percent said they plan to spend more this year, 43 percent will spend about the same, and 6 percent didn't know.

Among those planning to spend more or the same this holiday season, more than 60 percent note that the economy will be a least somewhat influential on their decision to spend on gifts this year (65 percent among those spending more and 69 percent among those spending the same).

"Consumers are beginning to feel more confident, and hopefully, that should bring some holiday cheer to retailers," said Dana Traci, vice president of rewards and product management from Discover. "We're seeing stronger confidence in shopping, but consumers are still looking for great deals and continue to be mindful of their budgets."

Creative Budgeting Strategies Change

With the number of consumers planning to stay within their budgets dropping slightly, from 66 percent last year to 57 percent this year, strategies for making the most of holiday budgets are also changing.

  • Thirty-one percent indicated they'll shop for less expensive brands this season, down from 2009, when 57 percent indicated they'd shop for less expensive brands to stay within budget.
  • Only 6 percent of consumers said they will re-gift this year to make the most of their holiday budgets, down from 17 percent last year.
  • Roughly a quarter (23 percent) of those surveyed said they'll wait for last-minute deals this season, down 12 percentage points from last year, when 35 percent said they would.

Other key survey findings include:

  • On average, holiday shoppers plan to spend $730 on gifts this year, compared to $723 in last year's survey, but still down considerably from 2008, when consumers planned to spend on average $831 on holiday gifts.
  • Cash and credit are king: 62 percent of respondents indicated they will use cash to pay for most of their holiday purchases this season. Twenty-three percent will use credit, 2 percent will use layaway, 2 percent will use rewards points, 2 percent will use gift certificates, 1 percent said they'll use their debit cards, and 6 percent didn't know or respond.

Electronics and Computer Accessories Top Americans' Wish Lists

Electronics are the hot item on wish lists this year - gaming systems (21 percent), smart phones (15 percent), touch-screens tablet (13 percent). Forty-four percent of consumers say consumer electronics or computer-related accessories are the gifts they would most like to receive.

Of those shopping for smart phones to give as gifts, 44 percent of shoppers say they plan to purchase an iPhone for a loved one, 42 percent will buy a smart phone on the Android platform, and 34 percent will buy a BlackBerry.

Gender matters: Men lead the category of electronics on wish lists, with 51 percent saying electronics are the gifts they would most like to receive this holiday season; only 37 percent of women wish for the same.

Popular Holiday Gifts for 2010

Apparel, DVDs and toys top the list for what shoppers plan to buy, while electronics and apparel top the list of what people would like to receive this holiday season.



44% Apparel 44% Consumer electronics
42% Toys and DVDs 37% Apparel
35% Music and music electronics and books 34% Music and music electronics
34% Home items 33% DVDs
32% Consumer electronics 31% Home items and books
26% Jewelry 24% Jewelry
10% Gift cards 13% Travel

*Multiple responses were given by survey respondents.

"Holiday shoppers looking to save more this year can take advantage of Discover's Cashback® Bonus program," said Traci. "This season, Discover cardmembers can earn Double Cashback Bonus on up to $1,000 in holiday purchases on any online shopping through Dec. 31. They also can redeem their rewards for partner gift cards or select from hundreds of merchandise items to help reduce out of pocket expenses."

About the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey

Discover Card's Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted by telephone with a total of 1,010 nationally representative adults (505 males and 505 females). The research was conducted from Nov. 17 through 20, 2010, by Penn Shoen and Berland Associates.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company operates the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers personal and student loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its Discover Bank subsidiary. Its payment businesses consist of 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 more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Discover Financial Services

Mai Lee Ua
(224) 405-3082