Despite a solid turnout of shoppers on Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend, most Americans plan to spend less or the same amount they spent last year on gifts, according to CNBC's exclusive Holiday Central Survey. Overall falling gas and energy prices had little or no effect on overall expenditures, according to the survey.
Specifically, 46% of those surveyed said they will spend “about the same amount” they spent on gifts last year and 32% said they plan to spend less than they spent last year. The average amount consumers plan to spend this year on gifts is $764. Only 20% said they plan to spend more than they did last holiday season.
According to the survey, 49% of consumers plan to spend most of their money at big box retailers like Wal-Mart or Best Buy, a 2-to-1 margin over department stores, including Nordstrom and Macys. Only 18% of consumers like the convenience of online shopping and will begin searching for discounts today, “Cyber Monday,” as online merchants kick off the online shopping season.