Holiday Central

Men will be the big spenders this holiday season

Key Points
  • Roughly 30 percent of men said they plan to spend more than $750 during November and December, while only about 25 percent of women said the same, according to a new study by JLL.
  • Men are anticipated to spend more on others and on themselves, as they have more options for retailers to shop from.
Shoppers carrying retail bags in New York.
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Men, not women, are expected to be the big spenders this holiday season.

Males are expected to head to the malls and browse the web, spending more than they have in the past, because they have more to choose from, and they're not afraid to open up their wallets a little wider — for others and for themselves — thanks to a strong economy, according to a new survey.

For guys, "before there was nothing to shop for, and when I started in this business it was the woman who shopped for the man," Greg Maloney, CEO of JLL Retail, a unit of investment management group JLL, told CNBC. "Men have a lot more choices to go out and shop for than they did 10 years ago."

Roughly 30 percent of men said they plan to spend more than $750 during November and December, while only about 25 percent of women said the same, JLL found in polling 1,000 U.S. consumers in early October. Women, meanwhile, are planning to watch their spending more than men: 44 percent said they would have a "moderate budget" of between $250 and $750 for gifts, while only 36 percent of men were planning the same budget.

Partially fueling the jump in spending is guys buying more for themselves than they have in the past. Consumer confidence is high, tempting shoppers to think beyond just what they need to buy and consider things they'd like to have, or want.

"The strength of the economy does mean that I am seeing some incredible products on the market, and it can be quite tempting," Jimmy Skinner, 26, a marketing manager in North Carolina, told CNBC. "I do have a habit of seeing doorbuster deals and making impulse purchases for myself."

Electronics, which men are often scouting out, tend to be some of the most steeply discounted items on key shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday — items like flat-screen TVs, headphones and speakers. And companies like Amazon and Apple only continue to add more tech gadgets and smart-home devices to the mix, with some new products launching this holiday season.

Best Buy's featured Black Friday deal this year is a Toshiba 43-inch LED Smart 4K UHD TV for $129.99, which is $200 cheaper than its typical retail price. Walmart is giving away $300 gift cards for shoppers who activate certain iPhones. It also has the Nintendo Switch with "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" on sale this Black Friday for $299, or $60 off. Target is seen as having one of the best deals on the Xbox One S 1TB "Minecraft" bundle at $199.99, or $100 off.

"A lot of the items that are offered at great deals around the holidays ... are going to be self-gifted and are male-centric," Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor of The NPD Group, told CNBC. "It used to be the guy would wait until the Super Bowl sales in February. But why wait when you can get it now?"

Furthermore, there are online retailers like Untuckit, Rhone and Bonobos targeted toward males, as well as more-established brands like Lululemon and Gap going after men with wider assortments of merchandise or even rolling out new brands. Gap just launched Hill City, an athleisure line for men, for example.

Male and female shoppers are expected to spend an average of $1,007 during the 2018 holidays, up 4.1 percent from last year, according to a study by the National Retail Federation. The industry trade group found spending on self-gifting is expected to be up roughly 10 percent, or $155.

Men overall are expected to spend $164 more this holiday season, PwC found in a separate survey, while women are projected to spend $42 less.

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