October 27, 2006 1:33am CST
Christmas is coming. What's your Christmas gift for your relatives and friends?
• South Africa
23 Nov 06
As the holiday shopping season moves toward fever pitch, the gender gap is obvious: Women are the big shoppers. Men want big TVs. Those are two of the findings in our second Holiday Shopping Poll. The Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed 1,000 adults about holiday shopping habits. Here are our major findings: When it comes to hitting the stores, women take the lead. According to our survey, women will shoulder much of the burden of holiday shopping. Among couples, 78 percent of the women surveyed told us that they completed three-quarters or more of the household's holiday shopping last year. In comparison, only 21 percent of the men said they were that heavily engaged in gift shopping. This year, adults will spend an average of 13 hours shopping for the holidays. But women will devote the most time, with 42 percent spending 10 or more hours shopping compared with 29 percent of the men. Crowds come out early to get the best deals. As in past years, expect traffic jams around the malls post-Turkey Day. Nearly a third (30 percent) of those surveyed plan to hit the stores the Friday after Thanksgiving, up from 26 percent who said they shopped on that day last year. We can also expect crowds waiting for those early-morning store openings to take advantage of special sales--14 percent of adults reported that they waited in line for early-morning openings last year and will probably do so this year. Flat-panel TVs are bigger than ever. Flat-panel sets--LCD or plasma--are generating huge interest this year. Nearly 1-in-12 adults (8 percent) are planning to buy a flat-panel TV now, and 12 percent will wait until after the holidays. LCDs (55 percent) hold a lead over plasma screens (34 percent), but 11 percent don't know what type they will select. Regardless of the type, the screens will be large; 46 percent of those surveyed are planning on 42 inches or larger, and one-fifth are eyeing sets 50 inches or bigger. For those putting off the purchase, 31 percent hope prices will drop after the holidays, and 30 percent told us the hefty price is too much money to spend right now. Indeed, big sets come with a big price. More than a third (35 percent) of those planning to buy will spend $1,500 or more on their sets, though a majority (62 percent) plans to spend less than that amount. MORE GENDER DIFFERENCES Big TVs: It's a guy thing. Men and women have different reasons for buying a flat-panel TV. Among couples, men are buying for a better picture (36 percent), while women are buying because it is something their spouse or partner really wants (39 percent). The sexes also see size differently. More than half of men (54 percent) are looking for screens 42 inches or larger, while only a third (36 percent) of women want those huge sets. What's more, men are willing to spend $1,734 on the right flat-screen TV, about $240 more than women, who budget about $1,495. Women rule the Internet. Over all, 40 percent of consumers and 55 percent of those with Internet access at home plan to shop online for the holidays. This year, women (43 percent) will be using the Internet in numbers that are up considerably from last year (38 percent); use among men is relatively flat. The primary reasons for shopping online for the holidays were convenience (46 percent), to avoid holiday crowds (17 percent), and to get better prices (12 percent). That's a wrap. On average, consumers will spend three hours wrapping gifts. Women, as would be expected, will devote more time to wrapping than men. More than half (51 percent) will spend three hours or more, while only half as many men (25 percent) will devote the same amount of time