Jeff Blumenthal of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that more than half of holiday consumers say they plan to spend the same this season as last year, with the majority of consumers expected to spend an average of $670 on gifts, according to a holiday shopping poll conducted by TD Bank  .. .

TD Bank surveyed 1,807 consumers within its footprint of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South Carolina and Florida to better understand perceptions and attitudes concerning holiday shopping behaviors, specifically examining the role of gift-purchasing and consumer sentiment regarding gift cards.

When it comes to the stress of holiday gift-giving, TD said more than one-third of respondents believe the greatest stresses lie in not knowing what to buy or worrying whether the recipient will like the gift. This may explain why 64 percent of respondents said they plan to purchase gift cards this year.

“With the majority of consumers looking to spend the same as last year, gift cards are a perfect option to keep holiday spending in check,” TD Bank Head of Products Nandita Bakhshi said.

The practical appeal of gift cards also emerges, as a major portion of consumers plan to use gift cards on everyday expenses rather than luxury items: 31 percent intend to use on day-to-day expenses such as groceries and gas. A combined 11 percent intend to use them for household items (kitchenware, furniture, etc.) or living expenses (bills, rent, etc.).

While the majority of consumers expect their holiday spending to stay on par from last year, 28 percent expect to decrease spending — citing the state of the economy (64 percent) and trying to save money (46 percent) as primary reasons. Roughly 14 percent still say they expect their spending to increase.

Read more at: The Philadelphia Business Journal