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The American Express Retail Index says that while consumers will be more cautious with discretionary spending, more will be doing their spending online. The fastest growing category online: gifts.
According to the American Express Retail Index, more consumers are turning to the Internet to save time or money when purchasing discretionary items. Overall, 75% of respondents said they have Internet access either at home or work (up from 68% in 2000), and 45% of these consumers also reported making an online purchase in the last six months.
To save time or money, 42% said they purchase books online (up from 36% in 2000), 42% go online to buy music, compact discs or videos (compared with 23% in 2000) and 39% say they purchase gifts online (compared with 1% in 2000).
Most consumers appear cautious about their discretionary spending this year. Overall, 53% of those surveyed plan to spend the same on discretionary items this year; 27% plan to spend more while 20% plan to spend less. The average American household expects fixed household expenses will rise by about 13% this year.
The American Express Retail Index, conducted by telephone in January and February, is based on a random, national survey among 805 adults with major credit cards. The survey looked at how consumers spend and manage their money.