SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 23, 2012

Shoppers in it for themselves this holiday season

CHICAGO — It looks like on this Black Friday, some consumers are putting themselves at the top of their holiday shopping lists.

More consumers will be filling their shopping carts with items for themselves as they hit the stores this holiday season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Just less than 60 percent of shoppers will spend about $140 on so-called “non-gift items” — merchandise they will not put under the tree or mail out for Hanukkah — but instead use immediately for themselves, their children or their spouses.

Self-gifting is “bigger than ever this year,” climbing 15 percent from 2004, when just more than 51 percent of consumers shopped for themselves, according to National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis. “I have no doubt that we will see people treat themselves because prices are so low,” she said.

Consumers are finding it difficult to pass up this year’s super-discounts, Grannis added. “There’s likely a few people who have refrained from buying things all year long because they knew the holiday season would be full of discounts,” she said.

Southerners will do the most self-gifting this year, with 61 percent of shoppers below the Mason-Dixon Line buying non-gift items for themselves and their households this holiday season. Midwesterners trail the pack with 57 percent planning to self-gift, compared to 59 percent of residents of Northeastern states and 58 percent of Western staters.

Millennials are most likely to treat themselves, with the majority of self-gifters falling into that prime shopping demographic — between the ages of 18 and 34. Those least likely to spend on themselves this year are in the grandparental range, age 65 and older.

Most non-gift items include big-ticket items such as televisions and laptops. “I don’t think there’s too many people out there that are waiting hours in line for a laptop or television and immediately gift it to someone else,” said Michael Brim, founder of deal website BFAds.net.

Shopper Theresa Parzych doesn’t like the frenzy of Black Friday sales, but the Chicago resident shops early and often — for herself and for the 12 or so others on her list for the holidays. She typically gifts herself at least one luxury product during the holiday. This year she’s been eyeing a purse.

“I deserve a present,” she said with a laugh, “more than one.”

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