15th annual St. Thomas survey finds shoppers expected to spend highest amount yet

- Twin Cities holiday shoppers plan to spend 8 percent more than last year, according to the annual St. Thomas survey.

Researchers say metro-region shoppers are planning to spend $918 per household this holiday season, which is the highest amount since the St. Thomas Holiday Sentiment Survey began 15 years ago.

Last year, the average amount per household was $850.

The survey measures how much shoppers think they will spend for holiday gifts, what they will spend on it and where they will spend it. It’s conducted in late October and early November.

The research is conducted by Dr. Lorman Lundsten, Dr. Sandra Rathod and Jonathan Seltzer at St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.

“There were no big surprises in our findings,” Rathod said. “It is clear that Twin Cities shoppers are optimistic and their responses generally reflect national surveys and projections for 2016.”

According to survey responses from greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro-area residents, the St. Thomas professors predict that metro-region holiday shoppers will cumulatively spend $1.24 billion this year, up 9 percent from last year’s $1.14 billion. The prediction is based on the per-household spending increase combined with an increase in the metro-area population of about 1 percent.

Participants in the survey said they will have completed 25 percent of their shopping by Nov. 1 and predicted they would have 59 percent of their shopping done by Dec. 1.

Survey participants ranked their gift choices for this year,

  1. Gift certificates (last year 1)
  2. Travel and events (including plays and shows) (last year 6)
  3. Cash (last year 2)
  4. Clothing/accessories (last year 4)
  5. Books (last year 3)
  6. Entertainment products (recorded music and movies) (last year 5)
  7. Toys and hobbies (last year 7)
  8. Computer related (last year 13)
  9. Sporting goods (last year 8)
  10. Cell or mobile phones (last year 10)
  11. Consumer electronics (last year 12)
  12. Furniture/furnishings (last year 11)
  13. Jewelry (last year 9)
  14. Video game related (last year 14)

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