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Consumers Prepare to Spend Nearly $900 on Gifts This Holiday Season

More Than Half Of Respondents Plan To Spend the Most On Children; Nearly One In Four Intends to Spend the Most Money on Consumer Electronics

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) today released its annual Holiday Shopping Survey, which assesses consumers’ spending trends and gift intentions for the 2007 holiday season. The findings show that almost half of shoppers (44 percent) plan to spend between $100 and $500 this holiday season and more than a quarter (29 percent) intend to spend from $500 to $1,000.
Key survey findings include:

  • Consumer spending intentions over the holidays are slightly higher than last year, when 42 percent of consumers planned to spend between $100 and $500 on gifts, and 26 percent planned to spend from $500 to $1,000.
  • Seventeen percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 said that money was no object. This is significantly higher than the majority of age groups interviewed, including 25 to 34 year olds (three percent), 35 to 44 year olds (four percent), 45 to 54 year olds (three percent), and 55 to 64 year olds (one percent).
  • Almost a quarter of respondents (22 percent) said they think and plan for the gifts they’ll purchase this holiday season all year round. At 27 percent, significantly more female respondents than male respondents (17 percent) think and plan for holiday gifts throughout the year.
  • When asked on whom they anticipate spending the most this holiday season, 55 percent of respondents said children. Fifteen percent said a spouse, while 11 percent said their mother. Friends and fathers came in at three and two percent, respectively. At 22 percent, significantly more male respondents said they would spend the most on their spouse, compared to female respondents at 10 percent.
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents plan to purchase a gift card for someone this holiday season. The same number said that they would be thrilled if they received a general purpose gift card, which would allow them to buy anything they want.
  • When asked to indicate all the places they prefer to shop this holiday season, 60 percent of respondents said department stores, while an equal percentage said discount stores. Thirty-seven percent said they preferred specialty stores, while 34 percent said they preferred to shop online.

“The Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey provides both consumers and merchants with insightful trends that can help them plan for the shopping season accordingly,” said Margo Georgiadis, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Discover Financial Services. “Shoppers clearly are planning in advance and are likely to stay within their budgets this year, but they still plan to spend about as much as last year.”

Consumers Sticking to a Budget
The survey revealed that the majority of shoppers (65 percent) plan to spend within their budget and more than half (53 percent) believe that it is very realistic that they’ll stay within their budget this season.

In terms of planning how they’ll manage their budget this holiday season, more than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) said they do so all year round – significantly more female respondents (32 percent) than male respondents (23 percent) spend all year round thinking and planning for budgeting for the holiday season.

Popular Gifts This Holiday Season
Discover Card’s Holiday Shopping survey also revealed popular gifts and spending categories, both in terms of giving and receiving:

GIFTS SHOPPERS PLAN TO SPEND THE MOST MONEY ON TOP GIFTS RESPONDENTS WOULD MOST LIKE TO RECEIVE
23% Consumer electronics 26% Consumer electronics
17% Apparel 15% Apparel
16% Toys 1% Toys
15% CD’s/books/DVD’s or video games 18% CD’s/books/DVD’s or video games
10% Home items 17% Home items
7% Jewelry 12% Jewelry

“At Discover, we’re hoping to spread extra holiday cheer this holiday season by giving cardmembers the opportunity to earn extra cash rewards,” said Georgiadis. “Through our online shopping portal, ShopDiscover, they can earn 5%-20% Cashback Bonus when they spend at top online retailers. Cardmembers also can earn 5% Cashback Bonus on restaurants, movies and grocery stores, and even an instant $20 gift card when they spend $200 on their Discover Card at 160 participating malls nationwide.”

Returning and Re-Gifting
Discover Card’s survey also revealed that consumers are relatively split when it comes to returning and keeping gifts:

  • When asked how often they return gifts, 49 percent of respondents said they keep most gifts, but every once in a while, they receive something that they return.
  • An almost equal amount of respondents (45 percent) said that they never return gifts.
  • Forty-seven percent of respondents were horrified by the idea of “re-gifting,” or giving a gift they’ve received to someone else.

About the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey
For Discover Card’s Holiday Shopping Survey, a telephone survey was conducted with a total of 1,017 nationally representative adults (502 males and 515 females). The research was conducted from November 9-12, 2007 by Opinion Research Corporation.

About Discover Financial Services
Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS) is a leading credit card issuer and electronic payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. The company operates the Discover Card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, with more than 50 million cardmembers. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the U.S. Its Third-Party Payments business consists of the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations, and PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks. Discover also operates the Goldfish credit card business in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit http://www.discoverfinancial.com.

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