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Survey: Twin Cities Holiday Shoppers Will Spend Record Amounts

Most of the shopping is expected to occur at shopping malls and downtown stores, although respondents are increasingly turning to online retailers for their gift buying.

Survey: Twin Cities Holiday Shoppers Will Spend Record Amounts
Twin Cities shoppers intend to spend an average of $918 on gifts during the holidays, according to the University of St. Thomas.
 
That’s the highest amount since at least 2002, when the university’s annual Holiday Sentiment Survey was first released.
 
Over 300 respondents throughout the 13-county metro area said gift cards would be the top gift choice once again. However, more shoppers than ever are leaning toward the gift of an experience, such as a vacation or tickets to a play or concert. Travel and events chosen are the second-most popular gift choice. Cash, clothing and accessories and books rounded out the top five.
 
Altogether, St. Thomas said it anticipates Twin Cities shoppers will spend $100 million more this year with estimated spending expected to reach $1.24 billion.
 
“After hitting something of a plateau last year, I think the Twin Cities’ numbers for 2016 are pointing north to a more optimistic outlook,” said Dr. Lorman Lundsten, one of the St. Thomas professors who conducted the survey.
 
Shopping patterns have shifted considerably since St. Thomas created the survey. Although malls and downtown stores continue to be the top shopping destinations, shoppers are dedicating more of their budget than ever to purchases online.
 
  2002 budgets 2016 budgets Difference
Shopping malls and downtown stores
 
51% 40% -11%
Non-mall stores
 
32% 17% -15%
Online
 
7% 39% +32%
Catalogs, television ads and phone sales 9% 5% -4%
 
With the rise in online sales, respondents said “internet-only” retailers, such as Amazon, have become their go-to online shopping channel. Otherwise, “bricks and clicks,” which include companies like Target and Best Buy, are the second-most chosen avenue for online shopping, followed by “broker-facilitator” sites like eBay and “deals” sites like Groupon.
 
In order, Mall of America, Rosedale Center, and Southdale Center were this year’s top mall attractions, Twin Cities shoppers said. Ridgedale Center and the Galleria in Edina rounded out the top five.
 
At the end of December, after every gift has been unwrapped, the shopping season won’t necessarily be over, said St. Thomas professor Jonathan Seltzer. “In addition to the gifts that are returned for refunds or exchanged for something else,” he said, “there are all the very popular cards people receive and the post-holiday sales where retailers are clearing shelves to get ready for spring merchandise.”
 
According to the survey, $15 will be spent during the post-holiday period for every $100 that was spent on holiday gifts.
 
“There are changes in holiday shopping patterns,” Seltzer added. “It does not end on Christmas Day.”
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