Consumers are going into the holiday shopping season with "cautious optimism," according to a customer survey from the National Retail Federation.
“As the most promotional time of the year, retailers will continue to look for ways to stand out, specifically with attractive deals on toys, electronics and apparel, even well before the ‘official’ start of the holiday shopping season—Black Friday and Cyber Monday," Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.
$100.76—Spent on candy
$28.66—Spent on greeting cards
$19.55—Spent on flowers
$51.99—Spent on decorations, the most in the survey's history
$6.9 billion—Total spending on holiday decor
According to the holiday consumer spending survey, the average holiday shopper will spend about $749.51 during the upcoming season.
That's up slightly from the $740.57 that consumers actually spent last year.
Federation leaders are forecasting that holiday sales will increase by 4.1 percent to a total of $586.1 billion.
That's higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent.
Actual holiday sales in 2011 grew by 5.6 percent, according to the federation.
Customers will spend the largest portion, $421.82, of their budgets on gifts for family members, according to the survey.
They will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers and $28.13 on others, such as pets or community members.
Although leaders are projecting an overall increase in spending, an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent continues to create uncertainty, leaders said.
But there are also some increases in confidence surrounding some indicators, such as home prices.
“While moderate compared to what we experienced the last two holiday seasons, the forecast is a very pragmatic look at what to expect this year, given the current rate of economic growth,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a prepared statement. “There’s still some general anxiety amongst consumers when it comes to how the state of the economy is impacting their spending plans, but retailers can expect to see excitement around their promotions and plenty of bargain hunters both online and in stores in the coming months."
Leaders with online credit card resource CardHub said that savvy consumers can take advantage of certain credit card offers that could save them $500.
Click here to read about the best credit card offers this season.