November 10, 2009 10:00 ET

AAA Texas Survey of State's Shoppers Reveals Most Plan to Cut Holiday Budgets, But Not Gift Recipients

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - November 10, 2009) - Most Texans plan to maintain their holiday gift-giving lists at the same number of people this year despite the economic downturn, but most also plan to cut their gift budgets by seeking out discounts and less expensive presents, according to a new holiday spending poll conducted by the AAA Texas Marketing Research Department.

The online survey of more than 500 state residents, which included both AAA members and non-members, also revealed that 59 percent of local holiday shoppers plan to spend less than $500 on gifts, and 80 percent plan to spend $1,000 or less.

Also, more than one-quarter of those surveyed said that this year they planned to change their usual shopping habits by clipping coupons and/or using a discount program such as AAA Discounts to save money on gifts.

"The effects of the economic downturn are causing Texans to be more careful with their holiday gift shopping budgets by seeking out coupons and discounts such as those available through AAA membership," said Denise Bialek, the Program Manager of AAA Discounts. "The AAA Discounts program has added several new retailers this year that already provide discounted prices, such as the Gap Outlet stores and, allowing members to save even more when gift shopping."

Popular techniques for saving money this holiday shopping season, according to the holiday spending poll, are:

1) Finding less expensive gifts (48 percent)

2) Shopping more at discount stores (44 percent)

3) Doing more research to make sure of getting the best price (35 percent)

4) Using store coupons and/or obtaining discounts through programs such as AAA Discounts (26 percent)

5) Ordering online to take advantage of free shipping for gifts that must be mailed (24 percent)

6) Buying the same amount for the kids but cutting back on the amount spent on adults (20 percent)

Even though more than half of Texans in the AAA survey planned to do at least some holiday shopping online, the poll revealed that shoppers still plan to spend nearly two-thirds of their gift budgets in retail stores.

The most popular holiday shopping destinations for Texans this year, according to the poll, will be discount stores (80 percent), followed by online retailers (55 percent), retail department stores (53 percent), shopping mall stores (44 percent), electronics stores (40 percent), membership stores (18 percent) and home improvement stores (17 percent). Just three percent of those surveyed planned to do at least some holiday shopping at a luxury brand or upscale department store.

The most popular items on gift-buyers' lists this year are gift cards (58 percent), followed by apparel and accessories (55 percent), toys (51 percent), books (45 percent), DVDs/videos (44 percent), video games (33 percent), music (32 percent), consumer electronics (28 percent), jewelry (27 percent), and computer hardware/software (19 percent).

"With the exception of gift cards, AAA members can take advantage of deep discounts on all the most popular gift categories through AAA Discounts' participating businesses such as New York & Company, many outlet stores like Banana Republic and Reebok outlets, and online retailers through the AAA Discounts shopping link,, including, jewelers, DELL and," Bialek said.

More information about AAA discounts is available at or at any AAA Texas branch, where members can get the new Member Savings Guide featuring holiday discounts and special offers.

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Dan Ronan
    (469) 221-8217

    Sarah Schimmer
    (713) 284-6552