Shoppers will treat themselves this holiday: NRF

Mom? Check. Boss? Check. That watch you've been eyeing for months? Might as well cross it off the list, too.

Although a new survey found that consumers will spend roughly the same amount this holiday season, they're planning to shell out more money on themselves.

Shoppers load items into carts at a Target store in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe | Getty Images

According to the National Retail Federation's holiday spending survey, released Tuesday, shoppers will spend an average $131.59 on purchases for themselves or other nongift items. That's up from $126.37 last year.

About 56 percent of consumers said they plan to spend on these type of purchases, roughly in line with last year's 57 percent.

The findings represent a somewhat optimistic turn from the past two years, when consumers said they would scoop up fewer items for themselves while they were out shopping for friends and family. Self-purchases are traditionally a key component in generating healthy holiday sales.

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Overall, the trade organization found that the average spending per person is expected to reach $805.65. While that is the highest amount in the survey's 14-year history, it would represent only a slight uptick from last year's $802.45.

"We expect consumers will tackle their holiday shopping lists with a healthy dose of optimism, tempered by a hint of caution," NRF President Matthew Shay said.

According to a separate study by PwC, self-purchasing is expected to skew toward millennial shoppers. That's in part because the youngest members of the 18- to 34-year-old group are less likely to have their own children on whom they need to spend.

The consulting firm found that millennials plan to spend 24 percent of their holiday budgets on themselves — nearly twice as much as older shoppers, who will dedicate just 15 percent of their budgets to themselves.

The NRF survey polled 7,276 consumers between Oct. 5 and Oct. 13. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Earlier this month, the trade organization predicted that sales will increase 3.7 percent in November and December, compared to 4.1 percent in the final two months of 2014.