Merry Christmas to Me Redux

By Crystal Markowski

In a recent blog post, Stephanie shed light on an NRF survey about how consumers will be spending more on non-gift items for themselves and their households this year compared to 2010. One question that kept us wondering was what exactly women are buying for themselves as they work to check off everyone on their holiday list. To get to the bottom of this question, we turned to our FHI panel  to have women weigh in. What we found were some interesting details that further illustrate Stephanie’s prediction that women will be gifting themselves with clothing, home goods, or other semi-necessities.

Of our members polled, 70% of women plan to make purchases this year on items that are just for them, and of this group, most will be looking for seasonal clothing and shoes. What surprised us most was the amount of women who said they’re hoping to buy “nicer” wardrobe pieces, specifically a new holiday outfit/dress or a new pair of boots. Typically, these are infrequent purchases for most women, and the holidays seem like a perfect time to not only justify, but maximize, these purchases.

Women often view these nicer, more expensive, clothing pieces as wardrobe investments. So, when they buy these items, they want to make sure it is something they will love wearing and will last more than one season. For example, retailers roll out the latest fall and winter boots early in the year, often before fall arrives. Since the cold weather does not come until a bit later, many women won’t feel the need to buy boots right away and decide to take more time planning the purchase – shopping around, seeing what’s available, and looking for a good deal. Furthermore, having managed a tight budget throughout the year, the holidays seem to create a mentality of, “Now is the time when I deserve it.” Couple that with the flood of seasonal deals, and many start asking themselves, “Why not buy those new boots I’ve been eyeing since September?” Some women may further maximize their spending by taking advantage of discounts on more luxurious items, like designer leather boots or cashmere sweaters, to get the most bang for their buck.

While the holidays may be a time to splurge on one’s self, I believe that women’s spending does not come without solid reasoning and good planning. As Stephanie mentioned, we can sometimes live without buying new clothes and other semi-necessities until we know we are getting the best deal. With promotions on everything from winter coats to handbags, now is an opportune time for women to get the most out of their wardrobe investments.

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