- The Washington Times - Monday, October 26, 2020

Public uneasiness over the coronavirus pandemic, social unrest and the presidential election has not put a dent in America’s holiday spending plans.

Consumers are predicted to spend $997.79 on gifts, holiday items such as decorations and food, and additional purchases for themselves and their families this year, according to a new survey and comparative research conducted by the National Retail Federation.

That’s down by a mere $8 from a similar poll conducted last year. Shopping itself is a way to shift focus from the “uncertainty and stress” of current times and look to a “our return to a better tomorrow,” the survey analysis said.

“Consumers have demonstrated their resilience and adaptability throughout these extraordinary times,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the retail organization.

Expected spending remains “significantly higher” than the five-year average — and the shopping frenzy should begin shortly: 42% of U.S. consumers say they plan to start their holiday shopping by the end of October, another 41% in November, according to the organization’s annual poll.

It also delves into shopper motivation:

• 53% of U.S. adults would be prompted to start holiday shopping earlier than usual by a sale or promotion.

• 37% would go early to avoid crowds, 31% to avoid stress of last-minute shopping.

• 26% would go if their preferred items likely sell out; 20 would to get holiday items early.

• 19% would shop early if they had extra money from a government stimulus.

• 13% say “nothing” would prompt them to shop early.

Source: A National Retail Federation/Prosper Insights survey of 7,660 U.S. adults was conducted Oct. 1-9 and released Thursday. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

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