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Outlook Bright for Retailers Big and Small -- 84% of Consumers have More Holiday Shopping to DoConsumers Have Longer Gift Lists and Plan to Purchase More Expensive Items Compared to Last Year, According to American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
NEW YORK,  December 14, 2010 -- 

Retailers can expect shoppers up until the last minute this holiday season; in fact, 84 percent of consumers say they have not yet wrapped up their holiday shopping, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. More than a quarter (26%) of those who started their shopping say they are spending more this year compared to last. Reasons include expanded gift lists (45%), buying more expensive items (35%) and making purchases for themselves while shopping for others (33%). Those looking for great deals will keep shopping after the holiday, with 43 percent of consumers planning to make a purchase the day after Christmas.

This month's American Express Spending & Saving Tracker surveyed consumers about their holiday shopping and celebration plans this year. The research sample of 2,031 adults included the general U.S. population, as well as two subgroups -- the affluent and young professionals.

Shoppers Will Spend Most on Kids and Spouses, and More on Moms than Dads
Holiday shoppers will be most generous with their children this holiday season, planning to spend $341 on average, followed by their spouse/significant other ($189 on average). Interestingly, mothers will fare better than fathers as consumers plan to spend $72 on average on Mom versus $45 on Dad. Many pets will also feel the love this holiday season with 31 percent of consumers planning to buy their animal a gift, spending $18 on average.

Gift Recipient Average Amount
Children $341
Spouse/Significant Other $189
Siblings $77
Friends $73
Mother $72
In-laws $56
Father $45
Work colleagues $27
Grandparents $27
Service Providers $24
Pets $18

Consumers Will Shop Small, Big and Virtually

Retailers of all kinds can expect strong traffic this holiday season with:

  • Nearly one-third (30%) of holiday shoppers saying they will make most of their purchases online
  • Sixty-four percent will do most of their shopping in stores
  • And more than six in ten (63%) planning to do some of their shopping at small business retailers

"We are pleased to hear that consumers are spreading their spending across a diverse mix of retailers this year," said Pamela Codispoti, American Express executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Card Products. "It's also encouraging to see gift lists growing again with many consumers adding themselves to their own list -- these are promising signs as the holiday shopping season continues."

Celebratory Spending
The majority of consumers (73%) have plans to celebrate Christmas/Hanukkah with family and/or friends this holiday season. Most (62%) will either attend or host a holiday party, while eight percent will celebrate at a restaurant. A smaller number of Americans will ring in the New Year at a party or gathering (43%). Regardless of how consumers are celebrating, the majority (75%) will dole out additional money to put their best foot forward, primarily with:

  • A haircut/styling (45%)
  • A new outfit (35%)
  • New shoes/accessories (24%)
  • Manicure/pedicure (15%)
  • Waxing (8%)

Most partygoers will pay homage to Emily Post with 79 percent intending to bring a gift for the host or hostess, spending an average of $33.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18+. The research sample of 2,031 adults surveyed the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups – the affluent and young professionals. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research between November 30 and December 2, 2010. Overall, the results have a margin of error of +/- 2.2 (or 4.1 among affluents and 4.3 among young professionals) percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. For access to previous American Express Spending & Saving Tracker results, please visit

About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on, and



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