Shoppers' Holiday Spending Budgets Up From 2010

Overall, shoppers expect to spend more this holiday season than last year's, but they also plan to take advantage of more sales and deals.

Thanksgiving hasn’t passed just yet, but people are thinking about the holiday season already: specifically, how much they plan to spend. According to the annual Holiday Shopping Survey by Discover, shoppers expect to spend $748 this year, up from last year’s plan to spend $730.

In 2010, 13% of respondents expected to spend more than they had the previous year, but in 2011, 23% intend to spend more.

Spending can easily be broken down by gender. Men plan to spend 3% less this year, while women intend to spend 18% more. However, despite spending less, men will still spend $825 compared to women’s budgets of $722.

Perhaps the overall increase in holiday purchases is because more than half (55%) will look at group-buying sites like Groupon or Living Social for gifts.

"Consumers have had a few years to adapt to the change in economy and seem to be better prepared, and better positioned, for the holiday season," said Sarah Alter, vice president of portfolio marketing for Discover, in a statement.

More shoppers will also be looking for bargains wherever they can find them. One of the biggest things consumers will look for are incentives such as free shipping, according to 55%. Meanwhile, 45% will limit purchases to items that only have deep sales, and 55% will take advantage of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday.

"This economy has created a very savvy shopper, one who has a deeper understanding when it comes to taking advantage of sales, exclusive deals and making sure they're getting rewarded for their purchases," Alter said.

According to the survey, consumers find it most difficult to shop for spouses and parents. Men want to receive electronics and computer-related accessories, which is the top gift respondents want, according to 51%. Women are more interested in apparel, which is what 48% of respondents want to receive.