Several research firms have surveyed U.S. consumers about their attitudes going into the holiday season. For the most part, the news is better than it was last year. Retailers can look forwarded to a slight increase in sales when compared to 2009. But consumers will not be shopping like they did earlier in the decade. According to new research from SymphonyIRI Group, a significant majority of shoppers will be developing a budget and looking for promotions and coupons to help them stay within that budget.

According to the SymphonyIRI Group Special Report: Holiday Shopping 2010 findings, consumers said the following about their intentions:

  • Plan to spend less than $500: 59%
  • Plan to decrease the number of gifts: 28%
  • Plan to cut back on holiday-related foods and beverages: 25%

To meet these goals, consumers will use specific shopping strategies. Some of these strategies are linked to income levels. For example, whether it’s for food or gifts, lower income shoppers will frequent mass merchandisers. Consumers who have a household income of over $50,000 will be more likely to use Internet shopping resources.

All shopper groups say that deals will motivate them to purchase. Here are the methods they’ll use to find these deals:

  • Online price comparisons: 75%
  • In-store promotions: 50%
  • Newspaper/circular coupons: 50%

Shoppers plan to start purchasing holiday items before November in order to get sales prices (46%), obtain items while they’re available (39%) and smooth cash outflows related to the season (39%).

Marketers who tap into this shopper mindset early with strong promotions may succeed in improving market share.

[Source: Consumers Celebrating Practicality this Holiday Season. Symphonyiri.com. 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 Oct. 2010]