Holiday Shoppers Plan their Clicks and Coupon Clips to Spend More and Purchase Earlier

More consumers choosing Cyber Monday over Black Friday for Big Deals

NEW YORK--()--With a late Thanksgiving and the shortest holiday shopping season in years, consumers say they’re starting their holiday shopping sooner and spending more this year, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. While it’s still not clear how the holiday season will actually play out, consumers say they will expect to spend $1,260 this year, up $400 from last year. Aiming to find the best deals, more than a quarter of Americans say they’ve already started holiday shopping and will finish before December 1st (27% vs. 24% in 2012), while others expect to finish a week before Christmas (37% vs. 33% in 2012).

View/download the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

“We’re seeing an increased intent to spend among consumers as we head into the critical holiday shopping season, suggesting strong enthusiasm for hitting the aisles this year,” said David Rabkin, SVP of U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “This is good news for retailers who might be concerned that the shorter shopping season will impact their sales.”

Bargain Battle: Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

For the first time, Cyber Monday is beating out Black Friday as the most popular shopping day, as more consumers (55% vs. 39% in 2012) say they’ll shop the virtual blowout sales instead of fighting the crowds the day after Thanksgiving (52% vs. 45% in 2012).

Although more will shop online, consumers still seek the thrill of the Door Buster Deal, with 58% of Black Friday shoppers saying they’ll hit the stores between 12am and 7am that day, similar to last year. On average, Black Friday shoppers say they’ll splurge 53% more this year, planning to spend $611 on average (up significantly from $398 in 2012). Overall, shoppers will dig deeper into their wallets, as those who plan to spend more than $1,000 on Black Friday has more than doubled since last year (24%). Just under a third (30%) plan to spend between $500 and $999.

Santa Gets Savvy with Spending

While Santa saves on gas with reindeer, Americans are finding other ways to pinch pennies. Couponing continues to be a go-to strategy, with almost half (47%) of consumers planning to use coupons or promotions for holiday shopping. Whether clipping or clicking, most consumers (82%) say they’ll opt for a hybrid approach to saving, shopping both in-store and online. Top shopping destinations this year include:

  • Superstores (66% vs. 68% in 2012)
  • Department Stores (62%, up significantly from 48% in 2012)
  • Large Electronic Stores (45%, up significantly from 36% in 2012)
  • Small Businesses (38%, up from 31% in 2012)
  • Mainstream retail stores (36%, up from 24% in 2012)

For many, saving goes social this year as 66% plan to take advantage of offers via social media sites, up from 60% last year. When it comes to discounts, consumers “like” Facebook as the most popular social resource (49% vs. 46% in 2012), followed by Groupon (43%, up significantly from 27% last year), Pinterest (20%, up from 10%) and Twitter (20%, up from 15%).

Not only will consumers maximize their budgets this year, but more of them say they will multitask by using mobile devices to shop (51%, up from 32% last year), browse for gift ideas (25%, up from 18%) and compare prices with barcode scanning apps (20%, up from 12%).

No matter where they shop, consumers plan to spend more across all gift categories, including:

        2013         2012
Gift cards 61% 55%
Clothing and accessories 59% 48%
Toys and games 51% 44%
Music 38% 30%
Jewelry or watches 37% 20%
Cash 36% 29%
Perfume and cologne 35% 25%
Electronics 34% 29%
Books or magazines 31% 26%

On average, consumers say the most expensive gift this year will cost them $538, up from $397 last year. Similar to 2012, many intend to spend the most on their kids (42%) and their spouse or significant other (22%), splurging an average of $415 and $683 respectively. Shoppers won’t overlook man’s best friends, as 67% of pet owners plan to spend an average of $178 on their pal.

Sleigh Ride Splurges and Season’s Greetings

Spending on holiday celebrations are also expected to rise this season, with spending up from 2012, as revelers plan to attend or host parties (54%), purchase decorations (39%), savor special dinners (35%) and take holiday photos (26%). A whopping 75% of consumers plan to give back and make a charitable donation, up from 65% in 2012.

Whether or not consumers can make the trip, 80% plan to spread cheer through holiday greetings. Greeting cards (57%) and phone calls (40%) are the preferred ways to connect, but reaching out with technology is clearly on the rise, as Americans plan emails (34%), text messages (29%) and Facebook posts (27%) to share good wishes.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,504 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between September 20 – 23, 2013. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

About Ebiquity Plc

Ebiquity provides independent data-driven insights to global media, marketing and communications professionals to continuously improve clients' business performance. This includes specialized services in research supporting creative testing, brand/advertising tracking, corporate reputation, brand image, research for public relations and thought leadership, global media/social media content analysis, and communications research. Ebiquity acquired Echo Research in May, 2011 and Echo officially started conducting business under the Ebiquity name on July 1, 2013. Learn more at


American Express
Kimberly Litt, 212-640-0453

Release Summary

With a late Thanksgiving and the shortest holiday shopping season in years, consumers say they’re starting their holiday shopping sooner and spending more this year.


American Express
Kimberly Litt, 212-640-0453