No one can blame retailers for nervously promoting great deals early in this holiday season. Nearly every large research firm has predicted that consumers will keep a close watch on their spending. 1125615_christmas_tree_3Consumer spending may not be as restrained as last year, though. The 24th Annual Holiday Survey by Deloitte indicates that just over half of consumers will spend as much or more than last year.

However, the projected household budget for gifts seems to be $452, much lower than the past two years. When Deloitte analysts probed this gloomy number, they discovered some holiday cheer. Households may spend as much as $1,145 during the traditional holiday period this year. In addition to buying gifts, consumers will spend on the following:

  • Socializing away from home
  • Entertaining
  • Non-gift clothing
  • Home/holiday furnishings

As consumers consider what to purchase, Deloitte analysts expect to see specific types of behavior:

  • Purchasing items on sale 74%
  • Purchasing lower-priced items 57%
  • Using store coupons 54%

Whether marketers are advertising catering services, holiday decorations or other products to help consumers get through the season, they may be promoting discounts, often and early, to capture a share of the consumer dollar.

[Source: Holiday Cheer Makes a Comeback, Deloitte, 10.28.09]