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Holiday shopping survey shows Boston shoppers plan to spend more in 2023

BOSTON — A local business research company said there’s reason for retailers to feel optimistic this holiday season.

Deloitte Insights released its 2023 Boston Holiday Retail Survey and found anticipated holiday spending is up 16 percent from 2022, with Boston shoppers expecting to spend an average of $1,883 on gifts. That dollar amount is 14 percent higher than the national average.

“I think for the first time since 2019 people are going to get back to their traditional way of holiday spending,” said Evan Sheehan, a Global Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Sector Leader with Deloitte.

Deloitte surveyed 404 consumers from Greater Boston between Aug. 30 and Sept. 18. The results revealed 78 percent of local shoppers are expecting higher prices this year despite “moderating” inflation and are budgeting for the same number of gifts—nine—as last year.

“There was a lot of saving during the pandemic. Now, people are starting to use their credit cards a bit more. People are spending some of the money they put away and they’re using their credit cards more heavily than they did in the past two years,” Sheehan said.

According to Deloitte, shoppers plan to allocate a higher proportion of their budget on gift cards, with an average of $276 versus $198 in 2022.

“If things cost a bit more, you can still get somebody a gift certificate some place. You’re still spending the same on them as you would have planned to and then they make up the difference when they go to use it,” Sheehan said.

Wrentham Outlets spokesperson Ashley Feldhouse said consumer spending appears to be harkening back to pre-pandemic levels.

“We are definitely busier than we were last year. Sales are trending to pre-Covid numbers. A lot of people have started their holiday shopping early but it’s still continuing, which is great,” Feldhouse said.

Deloitte also found 43 percent of Boston shoppers plan to spend their holiday budget in the final days of November, compared to 29 percent nationally.

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