Popular holiday gifts for 2011

Do you ever wonder about the most popular holiday gifts? What about how much money people are actually spending on gifts for their family and friends? PriceGrabber conducted a large consumer survey and filled us in on what everyone is going after this year… and how much they are spending.


Holiday budgets: big or small?

The PriceGrabber survey found that 52 percent of shoppers plan to spend $500 or more on gifts this season, while 36 percent will spend less than $500.

Susan Smith, a mom of two young boys, is paying more attention to her holiday shopping budget. “We’re really toning it back this year. I’ve become much more budget conscious… buying throughout the year and getting more creative by buying personalized gifts.”

Jennylou Raya tries her hardest to budget for holiday gifts, but admits, “We say we have a budget but we end up spending more.” She’s not the only one, as 12 percent of shoppers indicated that they do not have a holiday shopping budget at all.

Mom’s money guide: Avoiding holiday credit card debt >>

Clothing and gift cards are still the holiday favorites

  • 52 percent of consumers say that they will buy gift cards for holiday gifts this year
  • 46 percent are buying books, CDs, DVDs or video games

The survey also concluded that clothing and gift cards are still the most popular holiday gifts. 66 percent of shoppers simply cannot resist that perfect holiday sweater or that set of adorable PJs for junior. Not far behind clothing is the 52 percent of consumers saying that they will be buying gift cards for holiday gifts this year.

Kelly Shapiro, a mom of two teenage girls, will be doing gift cards again this year after saying, “Last year we did 100% gift cards… The girls got to use them all on post-holiday sales!” Joann Woolley, a mom of three young kids, disagrees: “If someone requests gift cards I don’t have a problem with it but otherwise I feel like it is not as special.”

What other popular holiday gifts are consumers buying this year?

  • 46 percent are buying books, CDs, DVDs or video games
  • 43 percent are buying toys
  • 31 percent are buying hobby related items
  • 25 percent are buying shoes
  • 23 percent are buying food or candy
  • 21 percent are buying jewelry
  • 20 percent are buying sporting goods
  • 15 percent are buying cosmetics, spa packages or beauty related gifts.

Christine Fox, a pregnant mom of two, has a slightly different outlook when it comes to holiday shopping. “We are doing a ‘handmade holiday’ this year because I think those gifts are what are most appreciated and treasured,” she says.

Cathy Nguyen, a mom of two small children, opts for the toys over clothing and gift cards: “We are going to buy one big toy — that the kids really want — and a handful of small ones so they will be more appreciative.”

Tablets are the most popular gift in the tech category

The majority of consumers that said they will purchase electronics as holiday gifts indicated tablets will be their go-to gift. The Apple iPad, HP TouchPad and Sony Tablet S are just a few of the popular ones this season, which means consumers are spending a good chunk of their holiday budget on one large — price, not size — gift.

iPods and MP3 players were a close second, followed by e-books readers, smartphones, cameras, TVs and laptops. Cathy typically doesn’t like gift cards, but she would rather give them than spend all her holiday budget on a tablet or electronic gift. “I try to stay away from gift cards unless I know it’s something that someone needs to buy, like an apple gift card to help with purchasing a iPad,” she says.

Black Friday is still the most popular shopping day for all the best deals

Most shoppers this year are betting on the fact that all the best deals will begin the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. Only 15 percent think that there will be good deals on Nov. 28, which is Cyber Monday, but according to Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber, “Shoppers will do well to cover all their bases and combine brick-and-mortar shopping with online comparison sites such as PriceGrabber and also use a mobile shopping application to take advantage of last-minute price drops.”

However, not everyone is pounding down the doors at 4 a.m. on Black Friday. Nicole Yontz admits, “I am a last minute shopper. I have to because neither my husband nor I can keep a secret.” Same here Nicole, same here.

8 Money-saving tips for last minute Christmas shopping >>

Read more about preparing for the holidays

Get organized now for a stress-free holiday season
Stress-free holiday shopping tips
Preparing your kitchen for the holidays


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