With the traditional holiday shopping season just beginning, retail stores and online merchants are angling to capture their share of consumer spending.

StrategyOne, a Daniel J. Edelman strategic research and measurement consultancy firm, today launched its annual Holiday Shopping Index to help forecast the shape of this year's holiday spending – especially in the early weeks of the season. The survey concluded that 88% of consumers have more gifts and presents still to purchase, and 79% are undecided about exactly what gifts to buy this year.

Designed to provide a weekly quantitative appraisal of how much shopping consumers have to do, this weekly survey provides insights into consumer attitudes and perceptions surrounding their gift shopping habits and focuses on the specific shopping plans of individual consumers and how they evolve over the course of the season.  The Index opened at 83.8 points and was determined based on a poll of 1,035 Americans conducted last week by StrategyOne. 

“With Americans just turning their attention to the holiday season, it's a critical time for retailers and marketers to reach undecided consumers,” said Bradley Honan, senior vice president of StrategyOne. “This is especially true for consumers who are looking for sales or other incentives to get them into stores.”

Additional Key Findings:

With the nation still grappling with an economic downturn, value is an important consideration for consumers, with 86% reporting they would be happy to see more discounts and bargains in stores during their holiday shopping.

Looking at planned holiday shopping budgets, 39% of Americans said they expect to spend between $100 and $400 this year on gifts, 23% plan to spend $400 to $700, 10% expect to spend $700 to $1,000, and 7% plan to spend $1,000 or more.

Forty percent said that they hadn't done more holiday shopping yet because they were waiting for better deals or lower prices, while 27% reported that uncertainty over what to buy had delayed their gift purchases.

Seventy-six percent of consumers also reported they had spent less than 50% of their expected holiday budget – and 41% said they had only spent 10% or less of their expected total.
Just 12% said they knew exactly what presents and gifts to buy for their remaining purchases.

This week's index level will also serve as the baseline figure for the remaining weeks of the holiday retail season.