Now That the Election is Over, We Can Get On with Holiday Shopping

By Jolyn Johnston-Myers
November 09, 2016

With the election now over, politics will finally take a back seat to holiday shopping. Retailers are expecting shoppers to get into the spirit and start taking advantage of promotions and deals that are too good to pass up.

The National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending survey shows consumers plan to spend an average of $935 this holiday season on gifts – for themselves, and others.

To get a better idea of how much you might spend, K-State Research and Extension family resource management specialist Elizabeth Kiss says to make a list of all the holiday-related things you plan to purchase and then track those purchases as they’re actually made.

“Put all the receipts together,” Kish said, “But sort of try to keep a running total of how much you’re spending so that you know, because you just kind of swipe, swipe, swipe if you’re using plastic.”

Debit and credit cards are harder to keep a running track of how much money is being spent, so Kiss says some people prefer to pay with cash.

“And they might keep the cash in an envelope and they just pull it out and they take the cash out and put the receipts in and then they know where they’ve spent it and how much.”

Consumers are expected to shop around, splitting their time almost evenly between three top destinations: department and discount stores and online. At the checkout counter, Kiss recommends covering the monitor while entering your personal identification number or PIN at brick-and-mortar stores, and being just as careful when you’re shopping online.

“If you’re doing this online shopping at a shared computer, you know you might want to clear the cache,” Kiss said. “Make sure you clear your passwords.

“You always want to make sure you’re at a secure site,” she continued. “That would be the https, or you’ll see the little locked padlock, as opposed to the unlocked padlock.”

As for the most popular gifts, 61 percent of those surveyed ranked gift cards number one, followed by clothing and accessories at 54 percent and books, CDs and DVDs at just 40 percent – which is the lowest in survey history as digital downloads replace hard-copy media.