Summer 2008
Parsing The Numbers By Poornima Apte

Money Spent Last Year

Last year during the holidays, the average person spent:

    $451.34 on family gifts
    $85.60 on gifts for friends
    $22.40 on co-workers' gifts
    $44.52 on other gifts
    $99.22 on themselves
    $46.49 on decorations
    $30.57 on greeting cards & postage
    $91.20 on candy and food
    $18.28 on flowers

Source: National Retail Federation

Winter holidays win

Over the past few years, holiday sales have been steadily increasing albeit at a lower rate. With the economy in the worst shape it has been for a while, this year promises to be particularly challenging and exactly how much of a growth in sales, if any, we will register for ’08 remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, a significant chunk of consumer holiday spending is devoted to the winter holidays. Also interesting to note is that specialty stores are popular places to shop at for a large chunk of customers. It’s time to get ready.

Time to hire

A large percentage of customers start shopping in late October to early November. The anticipated increase in business means you need to staff more hands. Even if 2006 showed a drop in the overall number of holiday hires, you can see that there is a consistently higher number of employees hired during the winter holidays as opposed to the rest of the retail year (January-October).

As is customary during the holidays, customers spend significant chunks of money on gifts for others so make sure your staff is ready to come up with ideas for a wide assortment of people.

Editor’s Note: As of press time, the most reliable data were up to the end of the ’06 season.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is an award-winning experienced freelance writer and editor. Learn more at

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