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Hot holiday shopping trend: Selfishness

The holiday season this year is notable for the large number of people who are buying themselves gifts.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 20, 2012 6:58PM

This post comes from Blaire Briody at partner site The Fiscal Times.


The Fiscal Times logoThe holidays are a time for gratitude and selfless giving, right?


Image: Woman shopping in interior design shop, side view © Alistair Berg/Digital Vision/Getty ImagesNot exactly, according to the National Retail Federation. A recent NRF survey finds that self-gifting will reach an all-time high during the holidays this year. Nearly 60% of holiday shoppers are expected to spend an average of $139.92 on themselves -- up from $130.43 last year.


Overall, holiday spending is also projected to increase this year, with the average shopper expected to lay out $749.51 on gifts, décor and greeting cards, a modest $9 increase from last year. Luckily, most shoppers will spend significantly more on others than on themselves. The largest portion of a holiday shopper's budget ($421.82) will go toward gifts for family members.


But self-splurging is increasingly popular with younger Americans; more than 70% of consumers in the 18-to-24 age range said they will buy gifts for themselves. "It looks like young adults have the 'one for you, two for me' mentality this year, which is surprising given that this is also the age group that typically doesn't have the income or ability to splurge," BIGinsight consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow said in a news release. BIGinsight conducted the survey.


Black Friday typically sees competitive self-gifters lining up in the middle of the night and skipping Thanksgiving dinner to buy the latest electronics and appliances. Two women in California even began camping out last Wednesday to buy a discounted TV -- eight days before Black Friday.

Charities could feel the pinch from this not-so-selfless holiday spirit. A November survey from World Vision finds that only 45% of adults surveyed said they'd be likely to give someone a charitable gift as a result of the economic climate, down from 51% last year. "We have gone through these tough times and it's surprising that instead of being more sympathetic, Americans are spending more on holiday gifts and giving less to charity," said World Vision gift catalog director Sarah Renusch in a statement.


The good news is that the boom in selfish spending is a sign of strengthening consumer confidence, a direction that could continue even after the holidays, providing Congress agrees on a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Consumer confidence in October was at its highest level in nearly five years, and saw the biggest year-over-year spike since 1994. Americans are spending more on cars, home renovations and retail purchases -- and of course, on themselves.


More from The Fiscal Times and MSN Money:



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