'Tis the season…to predict holiday spending. Despite the economic loss following the 16-day U.S. government shutdown, Americans expect to spend an average of nearly $800 on Christmas gifts in 2013, which is similar to predictions for the past two years of holiday spending.
A recent Gallup poll found that, on average, Americans think that they will personally spend $786 this holiday season, up slightly from $770 last year and $764 in 2011. This modest increase, though not particularly promising for retailers, could be good news for an economy that just took a $24 billion hit, if the prediction holds true.
This annual poll was conducted in early October, just a few days after the shutdown began. According to the accompanying report, other Gallup polls conducted at this time indicated a lack of consumer confidence in the economy and a decrease in self-reported daily spending. However, holiday spending plans may change now that the government has been reinstated.
"Now that the shutdown is over, consumers' Christmas spending intentions could change, and perhaps swell further, resulting in an even more robust holiday retail season than the October data indicate," said the Gallup article about the poll. "Gallup's November measure will provide an important post-shutdown update on these spending projections."
Anticipated holiday spending has been on the rise since 2009, when the economic recession caused a dramatic drop from $866 in expected spending in 2008 to $616. About one-third of survey respondents reported that they planned to spend $1,000 or more this year, the same percentage as in 2012. Overall, 80 percent of Americans estimate that they will spend at least $100 on gifts in 2013.
Based on these results, Gallup says retailers should be cautiously optimistic about this holiday season and plan for modest sales growth.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.