(Retail Association of Nevada) – A national Gallup poll conducted in early October revealed that consumers over the age of 18 expect to spend $740 per person on gifts this year, which is up 16 percent from the $639 reported in December 2008. The poll, which specifically asks respondents how much they plan to spend on Christmas gifts during the upcoming holiday shopping season, is generally conducted three times in the final quarter of each year.
In early October 2008, just prior to the stock market’s worst run since the Black Friday crash of October 1987, consumers predicted they would spend $801 on gifts. One month later, in November 2008, consumers predicted they would spend $616. In December 2008, which may be a more accurate response as holiday shopping may be completed or at least more likely to be in the process, consumers said they planned to spend $639.
In Nevada, where 1.9 million residents are over the age of 18, an average spending tab per adult consumer of $740 translates into $1.4 billion in holiday spending. In October of last year, an $801 tab would have translated into $1.5 billion in spending, and the $639 tab predicted in December 2008 would have resulted in $1.2 billion in spending.
“The national Gallup poll figures may prove to be slightly elevated when compared to what a similar poll conducted solely in Nevada would reveal,” Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis noted. Aguero continued, “The economic uncertainty that comes with an unemployment rate of 13.3 percent, 3.5 points higher than the national average, is likely to put downward pressure on consumer’s holiday outlays.”
Retail spending by visitors who are enjoying part of their holidays in the state are an important consideration and could push these averages more in line with national figures.
Mary Lau, president of the Retail Association of Nevada, noted that the 2008 holiday shopping season was “particularly anemic, with December 2008 sales totaling a mere $3.9 billion — the lowest December total since 2003.”
Lau hopes that this latest Gallup poll portends a positive development and that 2009 will bring “modest improvements.” Sales will be distributed among fewer local retailers; however, on-line sales are expected to again gain market share this holiday season and escalating price wars among some of the nation’s largest Internet retailers may accelerate this trend through the close of 2009.