Discover Survey Shows Consumers Have a Merry Outlook on Spending


Discover Survey Shows Consumers Have a Merry Outlook on Spending

Savvy Shoppers Looking for Free Shipping, Deep Discounts

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Consumers plan to spend more this holiday season than in 2011 by about $100, according to the 2012 Discover Annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which examines spending intentions and trends for the upcoming holiday season. Spending jumped to an average of $838 this year, up from $748 in 2011, and women will lead in spending by nearly $165.

Just more than half of consumers, 51 percent, have a set budget for the 2012 holiday season. Exactly half of consumers say they plan to spend about the same as they did in 2011, and 23 percent plan to spend more this year. Forty-two percent say retailers' sales and promotions will most influence their holiday spending, followed by household expenses at 27 percent and job loss/gain at 13 percent.

Key Spending Figures

Forty-six percent of shoppers plan to spend between $100 and $500, while roughly one-quarter, 26 percent, say they plan to spend between $500 and $1,000. The number of consumers who report planning to spend $1,000 to $5,000 increased to 14 percent in 2012, up 2 percent from last year.

Shoppers say they will spend the most on children and a significant other this holiday season, at 42 percent and 26 percent, respectively. Gifts for co-workers and bosses will receive the smallest share of holiday budgets at 1 percent, with friends coming in second-to-last at 6 percent.

Twice as many women, 56 percent compared to 28 percent of men, will spend the most on their children. However, more men, 30 percent, will spend the most on their significant other, compared to 23 percent of women who said the same. More men also plan to spend the most on their parents, as 25 percent listed them at the top of their spending list compared to just 10 percent of women.

Savvy Shopping Strategies

Consumers will employ a wide variety of savvy shopping tricks to get the best deals this holiday season, with two major trends taking the lead. To find the best deal on a purchase, 75 percent of consumers say they will shop around online for better prices, and 63 percent plan to seek out special shopping incentives, like free shipping, to make the most of their budget.

In a comparison between men and women, women showed a higher likelihood to seek out deals:

  • To make the most of their holiday budget, 70 percent of women will look for special shopping incentives, compared to 56 percent of men who will do the same.

  • Fifty-seven percent of women plan to search for and use coupon codes to get the best price, compared to 41 percent of men.

  • More women, 54 percent compared to 48 percent of men, plan to limit purchases to items with deep sales, such as 25 percent off.

  • More women than men would buy a gift through a group-buying site, at 67 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

Along with using several shopping strategies to stretch their budget further, consumers plan to look for specific holiday promotions, take advantage of credit card rewards and shop on doorbuster days:

  • When asked to choose from the following five online deals they are looking for, shoppers ranked free shipping first with 79 percent, followed by exclusive sales and offers, coupon codes, early access to sales and Facebook-exclusive promotions.

  • When asked to choose from holiday shopping "must-haves," consumers selected free shipping, 50 percent off sales and 25 percent off sales as their top-ranked choices.

  • Thirty-five percent of shoppers say they will use their credit card rewards as a form of currency to supplement their holiday shopping this holiday season. Of those who plan to do this, 58 percent say they will redeem their rewards for gift cards. Forty percent of women, but only 30 percent of men, plan to use credit card rewards to supplement their shopping.

  • As for finding the best time to shop, more than one-third of shoppers, 36 percent, say they plan to do a majority of their holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Consumers plan to shop both in-store and online this year. Although a greater number of shoppers, 60 percent, plan to combine online and in-store shopping, 14 percent plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online. Of those shoppers, 96 percent say they will use their computer, compared to just 3 percent who say they'll shop from their tablet or smartphone.

Cash, Apparel & Electronics Top Consumers' Wish Lists

Survey respondents say it's hardest to find the perfect gift for family members and significant others. The Discover Holiday Shopping Survey found men and women have varying wish list priorities, although gift cards and money top both lists. Men and women also have different outlooks on what they're most likely to do if they receive a gift they don't like. For women, 57 percent say they are most likely to return/exchange a gift they dislike. Nearly half of men, 49 percent, are most likely to say they love the gift and keep it, no matter what it is.

Men's Top 10 Wish List

Women's Top 10 Wish List

1. Gift cards

1. Gift cards

2. Money

2. Money

3. Consumer electronics

3. Apparel

4. Games/video games

4. Jewelry

5. Apparel

5. Tablet or e-reader

6. Tablet or e-reader

6. Consumer electronics

7. New smartphone

7. Adventure/Experience such as tickets to a concert or vacation

8. Adventure/Experience such as tickets to a concert or vacation

8. New smartphone

9. Memberships/subscriptions

9. Memberships/subscriptions

10. Jewelry

10. Games/video games

About the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey

The Discover Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted online with 506 male and 497 female adults. The research was conducted from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, 2012, by Penn Schoen Berland.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYS: 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 home loans, private student loans, personal loans, online savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. 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

Media Contact:
Katie Henry, 224-405-4437

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