Consumer Payment Card News

Xmas Crush

While holiday retail sales are up modestly this year, there may be a last-minute surge during the final week. A recent survey found nearly one in four Americans will be rushing to complete their gift shopping during the last week. The “2002 American Express Retail Index” also found that more than one in five consumers will complete their shopping on Christmas Eve. AmEx says those starting to shop during the last week say they will spend about $1,914, compared to $1,656, the average for this year’s holiday budget. Those completing their shopping the day before the holiday will spend $1,852. About 18% will make purchases online compared to 22% who said they would last year. The most popular gift items among Web purchasers this season include: books, magazines/magazine subscriptions (56%); clothing/accessories (53%); music/tapes/CDs/DVDs (51%); toys or games (46%) and computer/accessories (34%). Nearly two out of five Web users (39%) said they would send cards and/or photos electronically this season. Sixty-three percent of consumers plan to pay for at least some, if not all of their purchases with charge and credit cards.

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