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    Have Yourself a Functional Christmas

    Study finds shoppers will detour emotions when shopping, and instead, stick to budgets and seek out sales.

    EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Holiday shoppers will be more functional in their approach this year, by adhering to budgets, minimizing credit purchases, and seeking out sales and promotions, according to a new study by research firm Consumer Comprehension.

    The study, which surveyed more than 500 households online from Oct. 14-17, also found consumers will spend less overall and shop earlier. To be successful, retailers should respond by getting a head start on promotions, and start Black Friday Sales ahead of schedule, to capture holiday dollars, the firm stated.

    Other results from the survey include:

    -- Approximately three-quarters of consumers said they plan to adhere to a budget when shopping for the holidays, and 54 percent of survey respondents expect holiday shopping prices to be higher.
    -- More than a third (36 percent) of respondents said their preferred method of holiday payment this year is cash, while credit card preference garnered 35 percent.
    -- More than half of consumers have started or planned to start their holiday shopping prior to Thanksgiving.
    -- Forty-two percent of consumers also planned to cut back on ‘dining out for convenience’ during holiday shopping excursions,

    In addition, 39 percent of consumers said they would spend less while holiday shopping this year, and 16 percent anticipated spending more, according to the study. To cut back on spending, consumers planned to take the following actions: cut back on the number of gifts (36 percent), finding more sales or promotions (34 percent), spend less on each gift (30 percent) and purchasing only what is on sale (26 percent).

    Meanwhile, gift cards will be purchased at similar levels compared to last year, according to the survey. When citing reasons for buying gift cards, the majority (60 percent) of respondents said, "the recipient can choose what they really want." Thirty-eight percent said, "it makes my shopping easier," while 32 percent admitted "I do not have a gift idea."

    Respondents most often cited department store gift cards as the likely type of gift card to purchase this year (58 percent), followed by restaurants (34 percent) and book stores (23 percent).

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