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TD Bank Holiday Shopping Poll: Spending Expected to Hold Steady This Year with Gift Cards the Preferred Gift

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According to the TD Bank Holiday Shopping Poll released by TD Bank, more than half of holiday consumers say they plan to spend the same this season as compared to last year, with the majority of consumers expected to spend an average of $670 on gifts. Of those polled, 64 percent say they plan to purchase gift cards this year.

"With the majority of consumers looking to spend the same as last year, gift cards are a perfect option to keep holiday spending in check," said Nandita Bakhshi, Executive Vice President, Head of Products, TD Bank. "Giving a gift card reduces shopping stress, you spend exactly what you intend to, and are less likely to get caught up in the season and spend more money than planned."

TD Bank surveyed 1,807 consumers within the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South Carolina, Florida and Washington, DC to better understand perceptions and attitudes concerning holiday shopping behaviors, specifically examining the role of gift-purchasing and consumer sentiment regarding gift cards.

The Stress of Buying 

When it comes to the stress of holiday gift-giving, the TD survey shows that more than one-third believes the greatest stresses lie in not knowing what to buy or worrying whether the recipient will like the gift. This may help explain the poll results showing high consumer intent to purchase gift cards this year. "Holidays can be stressful enough, choosing gift cards for some people can alleviate the stress of giving a 'bad' gift, and the recipient has the benefit of buying exactly what he/she wants," said Bakhshi.

Gift Cards, Preferred and Practical

In addition to the 64 percent who intend to purchase gift cards this year, the poll reveals receiving a gift card is a top preference among consumers; more than half of those polled would want to receive a Visa Gift Card (51%). "Some banks, like TD Bank, don't charge customers a purchase fee for gift cards," said Bakhshi. "Plus, cards like the TD Bank Visa Gift Card, have the added convenience of coming gift-boxed, ready to give and accepted just about everywhere making this a convenient, hassle-free gift," added Bakhshi.

The practical appeal of gift cards also emerges, as a major portion of consumers plan to use gift cards on everyday expenses rather than luxury items:

  • 31% intend to use on day-to-day expenses (groceries, gas, etc.)
  • A combined 11% intend to use on household items (kitchenware, furniture, etc.) or living expenses (bills, rent, etc.)

Holiday Spending and Saving

While the majority of consumers expect their holiday spending to stay on par from last year, 28 percent expect to decrease spending citing the state of the economy (64 percent) and trying to save money (46 percent) as primary reasons for a tighter grip on their wallet. Contrary to this, 14 percent still say they expect their spending to increase.

Whether spending habits stay the same or fluctuate this season, when it comes to saving, the poll reveals a surprising majority (68%) say they haven't saved at all for the holidays. Instead, many plan to dip into checking or savings accounts (46%) or use credit cards (22%).

Budgeting Blips

Close to one-half of shoppers claim to have holiday spending budgets, however a significant portion, 40 percent, admit to going over a previously set budget. Primary reasons for exceeding a personal spending limit include getting caught in the holiday spirit (39%), love (23%) and simply not thinking about how much is being spent (18%).

Other Key Findings From the Survey Include:

  • 38% of consumers said they use credit cards to pay for gifts this year, followed by 31% who will use debit cards and 28% who will use cash.
  • 67% intend to purchase gifts online this season and 22% said they prefer to do most, to all holiday gift spending online.
  • 29% of respondents said a family member (other than a parent, spouse or sibling) gave them the worst gift they've ever received.

Note:  Contact TD for additional data points and specifics from New England, Mid-Atlantic, Washington, DC, South Carolina and Florida.

Survey Methodology

The study was conducted online among consumers in the Boston, New England (Outside of Metro Boston), New York and Philadelphia metro areas, as well as Washington D.C., Florida and South Carolina from October 10-12, 2011. TD polled 1,807 consumers from Maine to Florida: 302 in Metro Boston; 200 in New England (Outside of Metro Boston); 302 in Metro New York; 301 in Metro Philadelphia; 200 in Washington, D.C.; 302 in Florida; 200 in South Carolina. The sample size of 1,807 has a margin of error of +/- 2.3%. The survey was hosted by global research company Angus Reid Public Opinion.

About Angus Reid Public Opinion: Angus Reid Public Opinion is the Public Affairs practice of Vision Critical -- a global research company. Vision Critical is a leader in the use of the Internet and rich media technology to collect high-quality, in-depth insights for a wide array of clients.

About TD Bank , America 's Most Convenient BankĀ®: TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 7.4 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,275 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized wealth management services through TD Wealth, and insurance products and services through TD Insurance, Inc. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine. To learn more, find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDMoneyLoungeUS, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US, or visit www.tdbank.com.

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America and one of the few banks in the world rated Aaa by Moody's. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD." To learn more, visit www.td.com.

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