Survey: Consumers will spend 11 percent more for holidays

U.S. consumers intend to spend an average of $646 on gifts this holiday season, up 11 percent over the $582 they planned to spend on average in 2012, according to a survey released Monday.

The survey also showed that the appeal of Black Friday shopping for consumers has reached a five-year high and Thanksgiving Day has emerged as an established holiday shopping day. Although they plan to spend more, consumers also will be on the lookout for big discounts throughout the holiday season.

The survey, conducted by the consulting and outsourcing firm Accenture, was conducted in September, before the government shutdown occurred. Accenture said it surveyed 500 U.S. consumers online.

Accenture found that 20 percent of consumers plans to spend more on gifts this year, compared to 14 percent who planned to increase their holiday spending in 2012. They also are more likely to overspend their holiday budget this year, 46 percent compared to 34 percent in 2012.

However, holiday shoppers will be focused on discounts and sales: 94 percent said that discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions this holiday season, up from 84 percent in 2012, Accenture said.

The lure of Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — as a major shopping day is at its highest level in five years: 55 percent of shoppers say they are likely to shop on this traditional shopping day, compared to 53 percent in 2012, and 44 percent in 2011, Accenture said. However, a larger proportion of shoppers (30 percent) said they will do most of their Black Friday shopping online, compared to 25 percent in 2012.

At the same time, the survey shows that the growing trend among retailers to open their stores on Thanksgiving Day means that this event is “becoming ingrained as a holiday tradition,” Accenture said. In fact, 38 percent of shoppers surveyed said they were likely to shop on Thanksgiving. Of those shoppers, 41 percent indicated that they will be out shopping between 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they had already started their holiday shopping or plan to do most of it by the end of November.