Holiday spending expected to return to 'pre-recession' levels

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November 7, 2011 // UPDATED 10:50 am - November 16, 2011
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Twin Cities shoppers are expected to spend 3.4 percent more on holiday gifts this season than last year — a spending level more consistent with trends before the recession, according to the University of St. Thomas Holiday Spending Sentiment Survey released today.

The researchers say it's an "optimistic forecast" that predicts the holiday shopping season will resemble shopping patterns before the bleak shopping seasons of 2008 and 2009 when 54 percent of shoppers reported spending less on holiday gifts as a result of the severe economic downturn. 

Twin Cities households are predicted to spend $703 on gifts, a jump from $680 last year, according to the survey. The lowest reported spending level was $637 in 2009 and $796 in 2004.

Downtown Minneapolis ranked 10th on the list of places survey respondents plan to do their holiday shopping. Last year, downtown ranked seventh on the list. Rosedale ranked highest on the list, followed by the Mall of America.

The survey was conducted by Dr. Lorman Lundsten, Dr. Dave Brennan and Dr. John Sailors at St. Thomas' Opus College of Business.

"There is good reason to be optimistic about the results of this year's data," Brennan said. "If we look at the findings from the past 10 years, we can see shoppers' optimism in the early days of the survey, then the concerns and cutbacks due to the recession, and for the past two years a return to the kind of outlook shoppers had back in 2006 and 2007. The trend now is a return to a pre-recession shopping mood."