Dubuque store mirrors national holiday shopping trends - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Christmas shoppers balance online vs. in person spending

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As always, the holiday shopping season provides a key litmus test for consumer confidence.

CNBC's All America Economic Survey, out this month, brings promising news.

The report shows the average US holiday shopper plans on spending $751 this season. That's a 22 percent increase from 2010.

It also shows the most popular shopping destinations for Americans are still the big box stores, such as Walmart and Best Buy. 42 percent of shoppers in the survey said they plan to do at least some spending there, the report shows.

The parking lot outside Best Buy in Dubuque was packed Sunday afternoon.

Jennifer Becwar drove the 45 minutes from Lancaster, Wis. to, among other errands, do some holiday shopping. She's been shopping both online and in stores.

"I'm doing a lot of the online shopping, so every day I'm getting packages at my door," she said.

Nearly five years ago, Becwar delivered a very special gift.

"My son was born on Christmas Eve," she said.

It might help explain why, as Becwar said, "We kind of go all out for Christmas."

She said despite the economic ups and downs, her family doesn't cut corners on Christmas. Her shopping habits over the years, however, have changed.

"I lived for Black Friday until I had my son, and then it's just like, 'I don't want to stand in these lines,'" she said, "especially when you can get stuff online. It's almost the same price. Even if it's a little more, it's worth it. Just to have it shipped to my door. I don't have to drive anywhere. It's great."

She's not alone. CNBC's report shows 27 percent of shoppers plan to do some buying online. That's up two percent from last year.

For Best Buy customer Chris Kroeger, however, in-store is the way to go. He said he doesn't do any online shopping. Plus, he said, he's not the type to participate in Black Friday.

"I didn't do any of that," he said. "Too much of a mess for me."

On Sunday, Kroeger also visited Kohl's and the Kennedy Mall in Dubuque. He planned on finishing his Christmas shopping early, unlike last year, he said.

"I think we went on Christmas Eve - that afternoon - and that was terrible. Never again," Kroeger said.

When it comes to paying for holiday gifts, CNBC's report shows, most consumers are unwilling to spend beyond their means. 74 percent of shoppers plan to pay with cash, credit cards or checks, or pay off any credit card debt quickly.

"I like to use the store credit cards to get the rewards bonuses, and that way, in January, it's kind of fun. You'll get, you know, some good coupons in the mail and some good deals, actually, during December, too," Becwar said.

The report also shows 24 percent of survey respondents use a mobile device to help them with holiday shopping, such as while comparing prices in a store.

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