WASHINGTON - Shoppers will be spending more this year on holiday gifts, and will do more of their shopping online than ever before.
The average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, decor, greeting cards, food and more this year, according to the National Retail Federation's annual holiday sales forecast. That's up from the $740.57 shoppers spent last year.
In all, the NRF is predicting that holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year.
Most shoppers in the survey say they will start early too, with 41.4 percent saying they will start shopping before Halloween.
More than half (51.8 percent) of shoppers say they will shop online for gifts and other items this season. That's up from 46.7 percent last year.
Shoppers are also expected to spend more than ever on themselves this year. Nearly six in ten shoppers (59 percent) plan on spending an average of $139.92 on "self-gifting" this year.
The survey polled 8,899 consumers and was conducted for NRF by BIGinsight October 2 to 8, 2012. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.
WTOP's Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
The U. of Oregon is cracking down on a fan favorite.
Miss Utah's 2nd chance at the pageant answer that went viral. (Video)
Not to lecture, but here's why you don't want to skimp on sleep.
Lil Wayne: I wasn't intentionally stepping on the U.S. flag. (Video)