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How the numbers of Christmas shopping add up

Americans invest lots of time in the holidays, a good chunk of us never cash in gift cards, and we collectively do a lot of shopping on company time. So say market researchers, who have once again sliced and diced the numbers behind retailers' holiday sales season. Here are some retail nuggets from all that number crunching.

The average American expects to invest 42 hours in the holidays. Here's how:

m 15 hours shopping (20 for women, 10 for men)

15 hours celebrating with friends and family

7 hours traveling and 3 hours waiting in line

1 hour wrapping gifts and 1 hour returning gifts

Weekend shopping

The number those older than 16 expected to shop over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend: 138 million, about half the population and 4 million more than in 2009. About 79 million will be out Black Friday, a third of them before 5 a.m.

Gift card stats

Shoppers who plan to buy gift cards: 53 percent

Gift card recipients use to buy presents for others or for regifting: 12 percent

Gift carts never cashed in: 13 percent, or $7 billion in 2009

How we're paying

Shoppers planning to use a debit card as the primary means of payment: 43 percent, a 20 percent increase over 2005

Shoppers using credit cards as primary means of payment: 28 percent, an 8-year low

Sales numbers

The National Retail Federation forecast a 2.3 percent gain in sales of general merchandise, apparel, furnishing and accessories in stores in November and December. Here's recent history if that pans out.

2006: $445 billion

2007: $453 billion

2008: $435 billion

2009: $437 billion

2010: $447 billion *

* An additional $52 billion in holiday sales is forecast to be spent online this year.

Where we're shopping

Rise in merchandise sales in stores in most recent quarter: 3 percent

Rise in online sales in most recent quarter: 9 percent

Predicted increase in holiday sales online: 15 percent

Workers who plan to shop online at lunch or on company time from their workplace: 70 million

SOURCES: BIG Research, American Express, Consumer Reports, National Retail Federation, U.S. Commerce Department, International Council of Shopping Centers, comScore, Forrester Research

How the numbers of Christmas shopping add up 11/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 10:27pm]

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