While it may be an election year often signaling uncertainty when it comes to shopping and spending, a new survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of savings destination RetailMeNot (www.retailmenot.com) reports that 61% of shoppers plan to spend more this holiday season than last. In fact, nearly one in three shoppers plan to spend at least $200 more.

Despite the increase in spending, consumers will be taking advantage of deals and offers by seeking out savings prior to shopping either in-store or online, especially on the bigger ticket items like electronics that are on many wish lists. Seven out of ten consumers look for deals on holiday gifts year round, but 40% still feel they will find the best discounts on Black Friday. 

Searching for deals year round is certainly a successful strategy, but shoppers should reconsider making all purchases at one time, as category deals ebb and flow between October and December, according to RetailMeNot. A holiday traveler looking to plan a winter getaway in advance of the season can find an average discount of 33% off during the month of October.

Those starting early should be picking up toys, home décor and apparel as research suggests these categories are deeply discounted early in the season. Electronics and computers hit their peak from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday and then into the first week of December, with an average discount ranging from 38 to 40% off.

Nearly two in three shoppers report feeling financial stress during the holidays. One way to combat that is to begin researching and planning beforehand, according to RetailMeNot. Almost half of shoppers say they will begin holiday planning before November 1st and furthermore we know that one in five will plan to use a deals and savings app during the holiday season. But holiday prep takes many different forms:

° 47% will plan ahead by saving money.

° 38% will make early holiday wish lists.

° 7% will create Pinterest boards.

Other ways to prepare include prepping for holiday entertaining by losing weight (14%), buying new clothes for holiday parties (21%), learning new recipes (21%) and decorating their homes (53%).

What’s trending? According to RetailMeNot:

° 56% will ask for electronics including gaming consoles like the Nintendo retro console, smartwatches or the new iPhone 7 and these can be found at retailers like Best Buy.

° 51% will ask for new clothes. And 12% want a subscription mail delivery service for clothing or beauty items.

° Top toys include the Nerf Blaster, Power Wheels, Troll Dolls and Pokemon Z RING.

The RetailMeNot September 2016 survey was conducted between Sept. 24 and Sept. 29, 2016, among 1,003 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey.