If stores are uncrowded this holiday season, it won’t necessarily mean consumers are sitting on their wallets. They may just have decided to do their shopping online. A report from JupiterResearch forecasts that online holiday sales will rise 19 percent in comparison to last year’s figure, hitting a total of $21.6 billion. The increase in spending per online buyer is expected to be a modest 2 percent. Thus, the gain in sales will come mainly from a rise in the number of holiday shoppers who do some buying online—from 73 million last year to 86 million this hear. Meanwhile, a poll fielded by August Partners for The Macerich Co. predicts that consumers will spend an average of $58.48 (offline and online) for each of the 10.4 people on their gift lists. Men and women are expected to spend nearly equal amounts ($608.95 and $606.26, respectively). But as men will be buying for fewer people, their spending will be $17 higher per recipient. People in the South are expected to spend the most ($630, on average), while Midwesterners shell out the least ($583).
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