THE AVERAGE holiday shopper will spend $749 this year, according to the National Retail Federation's holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight.
That's up from the $740.57 last year, the federation said.
The holiday season won't be as jolly for European retailers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Unemployment is 11.6 percent and the euro-zone economy is in recession.
"Consumers in Greece - ground zero of the sovereigndebt crisis - plan to cut spending on presents and food by 16 percent this holiday season, according to a study by Deloitte LLP," The Journal reported. "Shoppers in Spain and Italy are scaling back as much as 4 percent."
It's not doom and gloom across the entire continent. French shoppers are planning to spend slightly more this year and Germans retail sales are also expected to rise.
The Journal noted, however, "Germans tend to be more frugal at Christmas, which is often celebrated in smaller family groupings and involves less lavish food than in France, for example, where foie gras and Champagne are holiday staples."
The Deloitte survey says the average German family plans to spend about $631 for Christmas this year, while the average French family plans to spend about $832.
"Ireland, where people typically spend a lot at Christmas, also stands out," The Journal reported. Deloitte predicts Irish households will spend $1,257 on average this year, "the most of any country in the euro zone," The Journal reported.
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