Going shopping on Black Friday? In the sea of people, you certainly won't be alone. Going to send holiday cards this year? You won't be alone. Hate the idea of getting fruitcake as a gift? You certainly won't be alone.
Various studies about holiday spending and other activities have kept research organizations busy the past few months. All contain tidbits about the expectations and the realities of Christmastime.
So you won't be all by your lonesome if you:
Plan to shop on Black Friday.
A recent Maritz Research poll found that 37 percent of respondents planned to do that, up a bit from 34 percent last year. Folks with household incomes of $100,000 or more will shop at a 45 percent level. Making less than $25,000? Less than 30 percent of you will head to the stores on Friday.
Generation Y (59 percent) and Gen X (46 percent) folks will be among the crowds, but baby boomers (23 percent) and the Silent Generation, those born between the two world wars, (21 percent) will mostly stay home.
Plan to spend a lot of money on Black Friday shopping.
The Maritz poll indicates Black Friday shoppers will spend an average of $790.
Plan to spend a lot during the holidays.
The Maritz poll indicates average spending during the holiday season will be $637, down 10 percent from 2006.
Figure on spending less this year than last. A survey sponsored by LexisNexis and conducted by Russell Research indicates 74 percent of Americans are expecting a leaner holiday season this year because of increased costs of their mortgage, home equity loan or credit card debt. Sixty-five percent of respondents were "concerned" about the cost of this year's holiday season.
Likewise, a Conference Board survey conducted by TNS estimates U.S. households will spend an average of $471 on gifts this holiday season, up from last year's estimate of $449. One-third of all households will spend $500 or more on Christmas gifts, with 35 percent spending $200-$500 and the remaining 31 percent planning to spend less than $200, the Conference Board survey indicates.
That survey also shows households headed by people ages 45 to 54 expect to spend an average of $485. Those led by people ages 35 to 44 figure to spend $479. Households with incomes over $50,000 intend to spend an average of $612 on Christmas gifts.
Figure on frequenting Wal-Mart.
The Maritz poll shows 63 percent of respondents expect to hit the big-box store during the holiday season. Next-most-popular were Target (57 percent), Best Buy (43 percent), Kmart (28 percent), Sears (23 percent), Circuit City (21 percent), Kohl's (27 percent), Macy's (25 percent) and Victoria's Secret (17 percent).
Will try to find Naruto-related items or RuneScape video games.
Lycos Inc.'s eight annual list of most popular toys and video games, based on Internet search activity, shows these are the "most-searched" toys this holiday season: poker, Naruto, Pokemon, Harry Potter, Webkinz, iPod, Barbie, Bratz, Neopets and Hannah Montana. The "most-searched" video games are RuneScape, The Sims, WWE Smackdown, Mortal Combat, World of Warcraft, Halo 2, Grand Theft Auto Vice City, Resident Evil, Gundam Crossfire and Halo 3.<
Expect to buy gifts online.
The Conference Board survey shows 38 percent of respondents will do that this Christmas season. Forty percent say they'll buy books as gifts online. Close behind were apparel and footwear (39 percent), toys and games, and movies and DVDs.
Worry about cyber security.
A Better Business Bureau survey conducted by Kelton Research found that 60 percent of U.S. adult online shoppers are worried about their personal information being sold or reused. Fifty-nine percent indicate they have had anxiety about their credit card information being stolen. Other online shopping worries from the survey include receiving spam and/or junk e-mails (45 percent), difficulty navigating Web sites (26 percent) and the amount of time it takes to ship items (25 percent).
Send a holiday card.
Seventy-six percent of consumers will do so, according to a Harris Interactive Survey, although 43 percent said they have trouble finding cards they like, 39 percent have a hard time getting motivated to send cards, 35 percent can't think of something to write, 34 percent struggle to mail them on time and 30 percent have trouble tracking down address information for friends and family.
Get upset about not getting a holiday card in return.
The same Harris survey showed that 31 percent of respondents said they would feel slighted if they did not get a holiday card from someone to whom they sent one.
Display the holiday cards you get.
Seventy-three percent of adults show off the handwritten cards they receive, while only 16 percent don't display them, according to the Harris survey.
Want to contact Santa Claus.
If given the chance, 80 percent of U.S. adults would do so, according to a Harris Interactive Survey sponsored by WhitePages.com
. Twenty-six percent said they would contact him in person, 24 percent said they'd send an e-mail and 20 percent would opt for regular mail, followed by phone, instant messaging and text messaging.
Think fruitcake stinks.
Twenty percent of lifestyle editors in a survey conducted by a beverage company named fruitcake as the worst fad gift "that consumers just couldn't get enough of." Also on the list of "holiday gifting fads gone by": Christmas boxers, stuffed animals and Santas, Chia Pets, nut-covered cheese balls, Beanie Babies, Pet Rocks, The Clapper, Ginsu knives and Big Mouth Billy Bass.