New York--Enticed by early deals offered by retailers, more than half of American consumers have started their holiday shopping, a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey shows.

According to the holiday consumer spending survey, almost 54 percent of consumers have begun purchasing gifts in some capacity. Only 46 percent indicated that they haven’t begun at all yet, the smallest percentage in the survey’s history, according to the NRF.

“Shopping early has become a very real trend with consumers today as they look for ways to spread out their budget, and retailers have answered their call with attractive holiday offerings as early as October,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

“Holiday shoppers will have ample opportunities to find the perfect gift. Whether online using free shipping or in store on Thanksgiving or Black Friday, given the competitive nature of the season, consumers will be the clear winners this year.”

The most popular gift choices are clothing and clothing accessories, toys, books, DVDs, and consumer electronics, among other things. More than half of shoppers also will get gift cards, which have been the most-requested gift item for seven years in a row.

Nearly 23 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would purchase jewelry items this holiday season as well.

No matter what they are buying, consumers will remain cautious this holiday season, looking for both value and price when buying gifts.

When it comes to looking for ideas of what to get and where to find the best deals, shoppers indicated that the Internet and social media would continue be popular--48 percent of consumers said they would look online.

Still, the survey results also indicated that traditional methods of gift-finding continue to appeal to consumers, as 36 percent said they would use retailers’ advertising circulars and 34 percent said they would look in catalogs.

“Even with smaller budgets this year, consumers will still splurge on popular discretionary-type gifts for their friends and family, but will shop around and compare prices as they’ve done for years,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper Insights & Analytics’ consumer insights director. “Looking for inspiration online and on their social media channels, many budget-conscious shoppers will also look for ways to surprise their loved ones with homemade and personal gifts.”

The NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey was conducted by Prosper, and polled 6,201 consumers from Nov. 1 to 7, 2013.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.