Gallup's initial measure of consumers' 2017 Christmas shopping plans suggests retailers could see the best holiday sales in years. The chief indicator is a sharp increase in the amount Americans say they plan to spend on Christmas gifts -- now $906, up from $785 in October 2016. That represents one of the biggest year-over-year increases in Gallup's trend, pushing the spending projection to its highest level in a decade.
In addition to Americans' strong projection for their outlay on gifts, consumers are exhibiting an unusual willingness to admit that their overall spending will be on par with or higher than a year ago.
When asked to say how their expected spending compares with last year, a record-low 16% say they will spend less and 17% say they will spend more. As is typical, the largest share, now 65%, say their spending will be about the same. However, this is the first year since 2000 that roughly equal percentages plan to spend more vs. less. More often, a much higher proportion of consumers have said they plan to spend less rather than more.