TAMPA, Florida (AAA) - Holiday shoppers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are getting an early start this year and are ready to spend more money on gifts. More than half of holiday shoppers (51%) have already started buying gifts, compared to 46 percent this time last year, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse Holiday Shopping survey.
While the majority of consumers (62%) plan to spend the same amount of money on presents as last year, 14 percent of them plan to spend more money, a 40 percent increase from 2011. More than half of holiday shoppers (57%) plan to spend between $251 and $1,000 on gifts, while one in four (23%) plan to spend up to $250, according to the AAA Consumer Pulse survey.
Although consumers plan to spend more money this year, more than two in five shoppers (43%) plan to buy more gifts on sale. Nearly three in four will shop at discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target (73%), or plan to shop on the internet at sites like eBay and Amazon.com (72%). People plan to forgo crowded stores this year as well, with more than half of consumers (58%) planning to shop during Cyber Monday. Meanwhile, there's a 10 percent decline in people who plan to shop on Black Friday for a total of 46 percent of shoppers.
"In this uncertain economic environment, it's encouraging to see that more people intend to spend more money on gifts," said Belinda Dabrowski, managing director, AAA Partnership Development, The Auto Club Group.
"But, people are still looking for sales and ways to stretch their dollar and all it takes is a little bit of research and knowing what means of savings are already at your fingertips.
Ways to Save on Holiday Shopping:
- Take advantage of retail or online discounts and check with any clubs or associations like AAA to see if discounts and rewards are available. AAA members saved more than $1.5 billion in 2011. Members averaged $102 in annual savings.
- When shopping online, look for special offers or dates from retailers when free shipping may be available.
- Check store circulars for in-store sales or coupons. Note that many retailers will honor sale prices if items were purchased the week before they went on sale.
- Sort through junk mail since many retailers send bonus coupons and gift cards in the mail during the holidays.
- Consider taking one retailer's circular to another retailer and ask for competitive pricing.
- If you want to purchase an item in a store, but forgot the coupon, ask if you can bring the coupon back for the adjusted price.