Although the majority of the economy's boost has been felt by higher-income shoppers, the overall consumer base appears willing to pay a bit more for an exclusive or quality item this year, said Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst at Prosper Insights and Analytics. Prosper Insights conducted the NRF survey.
"I think there's a bit more wiggle room in budgets," she said.
Read MoreHere's what shoppers will spend on this holiday
Jewelry sales in the U.S. are already off to a strong start in the second half, with both Tiffany and Signet Jewelers reporting strong third-quarter results on Tuesday. High-end jeweler Tiffany posted a same-store sales rise of 11 percent for its Americas operations during the period—its best performance in the region in three years.
The brand's gains were driven by price increases and growth in fashion jewelry, including its new Tiffany T collection that's targeted toward an affluent "self shopper," Sterne Agee analyst Ike Boruchow wrote in a note to investors. He added that "favorable macro tail winds for Tiffany's core customer contributed to the solid results."
Read MoreIs that all ya got? Black Friday skepticism rising
"We believe the luxury cycle remains robust and Tiffany continues to see strong customer response across product categories," Jefferies analyst Randal Konik wrote in a note to investors.