Gearing up for Christmas Shopping Already? UST Survey Optimistic on Holiday Spending Sentiment Clark Gregor November 14, 2012 The findings of the 11th annual University of St. Thomas Holiday Spending Sentiment Survey were released today. Equipped with 11 years of research data, University of St. Thomas marketing professors find the mood of holiday shoppers is close to pre-recession levels.This survey has been conducted in late October since 2002 and provides more than a decade’s worth of longitudinal data on Twin Cities holiday shopping trends. The survey measures the intent of Twin Cities shoppers: how much they think they will spend for holiday gifts, what they will spend it on, and where they will spend it. The research is conducted by Dr. Lorman Lundsten, Jon Seltzer and Dr. John Sailors of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.Key findings this year:This year’s predicted household spending for holiday gifts, $773, compares to $703 last year and $680 in 2010.Based on survey responses and the population of the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the researchers predict that metro-region shoppers will cumulatively spend just over $1 billion this year, up 9.3 percent from last year’s predicted $915 million. This year’s predicted spend is the highest in the 11 years of the survey; the previous high was $959 million in 2004.As for where shoppers plan to buy gifts, shopping malls remain popular — accounting for about half of all shopping — but they gave up some ground to non-mall stores and to the Internet. Target and Macy’s were clear winners and tied for first as specific retailers named by respondents, followed by Best Buy, Herberger’s and Kohl’s.The top gift this year: cash. The relative popularity of 14 major gift categories:cash (up from #4 in ’11)clothing and accessoriesgift certificates (down from #1 in ’08, ’09, ’10 and ’11)travelcomputers and related itemsbookstoys and hobbiesentertainmentvideo games and related itemsfurniture and home furnishingssporting goodscell phonesconsumer electronicsjewelryYou can read more from the survey in the UST Newsroom. What do you plan to spend this year? Do these findings match up with your holiday spending plans? Let us know in the comments!