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US consumers plan to spend, on average, $832.36 on holiday-related shopping, up only 1.9% over last year’s $816.69, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2008 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, reports Retailer Daily.

That’s the lowest increase in planned holiday shopping since the survey began in 2002, NRF said. It continues to expect total holiday sales to increase 2.2% to $470.4 billion.

Though shoppers choose to visit stores for different reasons, consumers say one factor – price – will play the biggest role in buying decisions this year:

40.0% of shoppers say sales or promotions is the largest factor when determining where to shop

Another 12.6% state that everyday low prices are the most important factor.

Other consumers rate selection (21.5%) and merchandise quality (13.4%) as the primary factor; and a handful of consumers say they are making buying decisions based on a convenient location (5.6%) or helpful customer service (5.2%) this year.

“Retailers are going into this holiday season with their eyes wide open, knowing that savings and promotions will be the main incentive for shoppers,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. “No one is canceling Christmas because money is tight, but consumers will be sticking to their budgets and looking for good deals when deciding where to spend this holiday season.”

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