Get your credit card out: Expect to spend $900 on gifts this holiday season

Twin Cities citizens are expected to spend a record amount this holiday season, forking out nearly $1,000 on gifts for their loved ones.
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Twin Cities citizens are expected to fork out more than $900 on gifts for their loved ones this holiday season.

The annual St. Thomas Holiday Shopping Survey found metro area households plan on spending $918 (on average) just on gifts alone this year.

This is the highest amount ever recorded in the 15 years of the survey, and represents an 8 percent increase from last year's predicted outlay of $850.

Nationally, organizations such as Deloitte & Touche, the National Retail Federation and the International Council of Shopping Centers are predicting a smaller rise in holiday spending, between 3-4 percent.

In the Twin Cities alone, the survey predicts metro area shoppers will spend $1.24 billion over the holidays, providing a nice boost for retailers.

So what are they spending it on?

You know how sometimes it's really hard to think of the right gift for a relative or friend? That's why gift cards are once again expected to be the number one gift of choice this year.

But in second place, more popular than last year (when it was sixth), is giving tickets for trips and events – including plays and shows.

Falling out of fashion is jewelry, which fell from ninth last year to 13th this year.

Gaining in popularity are computer-related gifts, which have risen from 13th to eighth.

Lack of snow helps malls

The prolonged fall (albeit one which will end soon judging by this weekend's forecast) is encouraging shoppers to make it out to the malls and stores, according to survey researcher Jonathan Seltzer.

Shoppers still say around 39 percent of their holiday spending will be done online, only slightly less than the 40 percent they will spend at malls and downtowns, but these figures aren't that different from 2015, suggesting online shopping has plateaued in the Twin Cities.

Of the online spending, 43 percent will be spent at "internet-only" sites like Amazon, with 35 percent spent at physical retailers' websites (such as Target, Kohl's and Best Buy). Around 4 percent will be spent at "broker-facilitator" sites like eBay and 5 percent will come from "deals" sites like Groupon.

When asked to identify which malls they'll be heading to for most of their shopping, the top 3 names were the same as last year: Mall of America first followed by Rosedale and Southdale.

The biggest mover is the Galleria in Edina, which rose to fifth after being eighth last year, while Eden Prairie Center tumbled to 12th from fourth.

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