WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov 13, 2012/ — Already eyeing hot toys, fashions and exclusive products, consumers are beginning to make a dent in their holiday shopping lists.

According to the National Retail Federation’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, 52.8 percent of Americans have already started their holiday shopping, up from 51.4 percent last year.

With plans to spend slightly more than last year, shoppers will stock up on lots of discretionary gifts for their loved ones. The most popular choice: clothing and clothing accessories. According to the survey, nearly six in 10 (59.7%) consumers will splurge on fashion and apparel items and other accessories.

About the same amount of people (59.2%) will buy gift cards, which are also the most requested gift item. Children will also benefit this holiday season – 45.1 percent of people say they will buy toys. Additionally, 22.5 percent of shoppers will go the extra mile and surprise someone special with jewelry, the highest amount since 2007.

Other popular gifts will be books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games (51.5%), electronics (31.7%), personal care or beauty items (24.4%) and food and candy (32.6%).

The survey also found shoppers much prefer to use money they already have or have saved up to purchase holiday gifts. More than four in 10 (43.4%)will rely on debit cards as their primary form of payment. An additional 25.2 percent will use cash and 2.8 percent will use a check. Nearly three in 10 (28.7%) will charge their gifts.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, but when it comes to seeking out ideas for the perfect gift, more holiday shoppers are finding motivation online this year.

According to the survey, 47.3 percent of consumers said they will look for holiday gift ideas online. Coming in a close second is in-store inspiration, with 45.2 percent of Americans noting that they will take a stroll in the store to find the ideal gift.

Other popular areas for insight include advertising circulars (36.2%), television (35.4%) and friends and family (40.4%). Proving they are still seen as a value to shoppers, more than one-third (34.1%) of consumers say they will seek ideas from catalogs.

Additionally, 13.3 percent will head to Facebook and 5.8 percent will use Pinterest to gain inspiration.


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