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How Americans Are Spending Holiday Money

Here is a snapshot of where and how Americans spent their money on gifts for Christmas gifts in 2012, what changed from the previous year, and how this spending affected the overall economy.

Fear to Optimism

Before looking at how consumers spend their holiday money, it is important to note how consumer spending changed from 2011 to 2012. During 2011, Christmas shoppers spent an estimated $586 billion. During 2012, this number is estimated to be $854 billion, a 32% increase over the previous year. The primary reason? The economy seems to have turned a corner and consumer confidence was higher.


Wish List

This consumer optimism led consumers to adapt their spending habits, including the items they wanted to receive. The top item? At almost 60%, gift cards were by far the most wished-for item. Clothing was a close second, followed by media such as books, CDs, games and videos.


Top Gifts

The top choices that people as for included virtual video games, air guitar games, and even a hat made of cardboard. The top technology gifts included the iPad, and the top toys included Furby interactive toys.

Top Picks

Worst Gifts

Heading up the bottom of the list are the worst gifts that people gave. Not surprisingly, fruit cake made the list at number four, and scented candles came in as the worst gift of all. See the complete list by expanding the infographic.


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