The annual holiday shopping survey from the University of St. Thomas is out, and researchers say people are not only eager to share what they plan to buy, they're also talking about how much they will spend.
The school has been conducting its survey for 12 years, consistently listing the Mall of America as the top shopping destination. This year, it's No. 1 again.
According to the survey, Twin Cities households will spend an average of $837 this year, up 3 percent from last year and 19 percent from the year before. That total is a 31 percent increase from the peak of the recession in 2009.
"As long as shoppers are feeling good about themselves and confident about the future, they tend to spend a lot more," David Brennan said.
So, what are the hottest items? Twin Cities shoppers say they're going for gift cards, followed by clothing, cash, books and toys.
In light of this year's short shopping season, stores are speeding up their sales promotions. According to the survey, shoppers have already begun their buying, with 21 percent telling St. Thomas researchers they are already done.
About one third of shoppers also say they plan to make their purchases online. Target.com is the No. 1 go-to site, according to the survey.