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Consumers Catching the Holiday Spirit

Consumers seem to be building momentum heading into the holiday shopping season.

Shoppers stop to look at the newly decorated Christmas floor at KADEWE department store in Berlin, Germany.
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Shoppers stop to look at the newly decorated Christmas floor at KADEWE department store in Berlin, Germany.

Fresh data from the Commerce Department showed that consumer spending rose 0.7 percentfrom last month, topping estimates and potentially easing some concerns about the economy.

A new survey out from Deloitte shows that nearly one-third of consumers surveyed expect to spend more on the holidays than they did about a month or two ago.

Of those, 43 percent said they are "getting into the holiday spirit more" and 22 percent said "they're already spending more" than they planned.

"I think that this could bode well for retailers over the next couple of weeks," said Stacy Janiak, a vice chairman and U.S. retail leader at Deloitte. (To hear more analysis from Janiak, watch the video below.)

Deloitte is projecting retail sales from November through January will be flat with the same period a year ago, but Janiak said she wouldn't be surprised if actual sales top this forecast.

"The consumer has increasing momentum heading into the season," Janiak said. One thing fueling that their pace is the need for shoppers to replenish the clothes in their closets and other items.

On Tuesday, ComScore, which tracks retail spending online, said that spending online for the first 22 days of the November to December holiday season was tracking ahead of last year, up 2 percent to $8.21 billion.

"The beginning of the online holiday shopping season has gotten off to a positive start, which is a nice improvement over the slightly negative growth rates we've experienced through much of 2009," said ComScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni.

Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition
Consumer Nation Holiday Central Edition

For the entire holiday season, ComScore is projecting holiday sales online will be up 3 percent from 2008. Although that's an improvement over last season's 3 percent decline, it's well below growth rates of 20 percent or higher seen in prior years.

According to Deloitte, about 44 percent of all consumers plan to shop online or in stores this Thanksgiving weekend. Most — some 68 percent — will shop in stores, 46 percent will shop online, and 31 percent will do both.

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