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Tanya Hall
Indiana Business Research Center

Last modified: Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter holidays in Indiana in 2010: Festive fun facts from the Indiana Business Research Center

Dec. 15, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- With Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa coming up soon, here are some interesting holiday factoids from the Indiana Business Research Center in Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.

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A season of celebration

An overwhelming majority of Hoosier adults -- 92.3 percent -- celebrate at least one winter holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

Shop 'til you drop

Hoosiers are projected to spend $979 or less on 2010 holiday shopping, which is less than the expected national average of $1,160. Hoosiers and Minnesotans are expected to be the most conservative in their spending relative to other regions in the United States.

Holiday sales overall are expected to increase by 2.3 percent over those in 2009. If the National Retail Federation is correct, then nationwide holiday sales will total $447.1 billion this year. On average over the past 10 years, holiday sales have increased 2.45 percent per year.

Online retail spending in November and December across the U.S. is expected to total $32.4 billion, which is an 11 percent increase from 2009.

Nine million buyers on Cyber Monday -- the first Monday after Thanksgiving -- spent $1.03 billon. This is a 16 percent increase over 2009 and the heaviest online spending day in history. This increase was spurred by a boost in average spending per buyer (12 percent) and more buyers (4 percent) over last year.

When to shop?

The holiday season lasts 55 days, as shopping begins at the start of November and goes through Dec. 24. In 2009 retailers' average sales were nearly $8 billion per day. With an expected increase in 2010, the daily average would be more than $8.1 billion per day.

Forty percent of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Halloween last year. Thirty-eight percent of shoppers began shopping in November with the remaining 22 percent waiting until December.

This year, 212 million Americans shopped on Black Friday -- both in stores and online -- which is an increase from 195 million last year. This means that roughly 68.2 percent of Americans were shopping on that day.

Where to shop?

About two-thirds, or 64 percent of Hoosiers, plan to shop at discount or value department stores this year. Other popular shopping destinations are the Internet (33 percent), restaurants and fast food establishments (27 percent), toy stores (21 percent) and traditional department stores (20 percent).

Indiana has a wide variety of retail establishments -- 22,936 retailers in all. Popular destinations likely include the following:

  • 1,620 clothing stores
  • 1,069 electronics and appliance stores
  • 548 gift, novelty and souvenir shops
  • 452 sporting goods stores
  • 447 jewelry stores
  • 234 book stores
  • 185 hobby, toy and game stores
  • 127 discount department stores
  • 74 department stores

Indiana has 320 electronic shopping and mail-order houses, which employ 4,955 people.

The value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses nationwide in December 2009 totalled $30 billion, the highest total for any month last year.

What to buy?

This holiday season 57 percent of Hoosiers plan to purchase at least one gift card. Other popular gifts include:

  • clothing (48 percent)
  • money (36 percent)
  • entertainment gifts including CDs and DVDs (35 percent)
  • games, toys and dolls -- excluding computer or video games (34 percent)

This year 41.9 percent of consumers plan to purchase toys, down slightly from 42.2 percent in 2009.

For the third year in a row, video games reign as the most popular gift for boys. The second and third most popular boy toys are LEGOs and generic cars. For the seventh year in a row, Barbie is expected to be the top girl gift followed by dolls and Dora the Explorer toys.

Where gifts come from

Indiana has 18 companies that produce games, toys and children's vehicles, with 262 employees. Indiana also has 20 doll, toy and game manufacturing facilities that employ more than 300 workers.

The value of U.S. toy imports totalled $5.1 billion, which included stuffed toys (including dolls), puzzles, and electric trains from China, between January and August 2010. China was the leading country of origin for stuffed toys coming into this country, as well as for a number of other popular holiday gifts. These include roller skates ($37 million), sports footwear ($218 million) and basketballs ($32 million).

Christmas trees and decorations

Christmas trees are grown on 3,175 acres dedicated to their production on 231 farms in Indiana. Also, 177 of the 231 farms cut 198,899 trees used as Christmas trees or decorations in 2007.

The sales value of cut Christmas trees and short-rotation woody crops in Indiana totaled $2.66 million. Oregon leads the nation in sales with $109.3 million.

U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China totaled $488.5 million between January and August of 2010. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States (worth $28.2 million) during the same period.

It's in the mail

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver 15.8 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the holidays, the amount of mail processed increases 18.2 percent to an average of 661 million pieces of mail a day. On the busiest mailing day of the year (Dec. 20), the USPS expects to process 801 million pieces of mail.

USPS will process 30 million pounds of mail for delivery to overseas military installations, including war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, in November and December.

Holiday treats and feasts

The top five most preferred Christmas cookies in 2008 were sugar cookies, gingerbread man cookies, peanut blossoms, thumbprint cookies and Russian tea cakes (also known as Mexican wedding cakes).

In 2008 Americans consumed 124 million pounds of eggnog, a popular holiday beverage that consists of egg, milk, cream, sugar and an assorted mixture of spices and spirits. Peak sales occurred the week before Thanksgiving, the week of Christmas and the week after Christmas. Per capita consumption was 0.4 pounds or roughly half of a cup of eggnog.

Chickens on Indiana farms produced 6.46 billion eggs in Indiana in 2009. Indiana accounts for 7.1 percent of all egg production in the United States. In 2005 Rose Acre Farms in Seymour, Ind., was named the second largest egg-producing firm in the nation.

Also in 2009, 3.38 billion pounds of milk -- another key component of eggnog -- were produced in Indiana. The Hoosier state produces 1.8 percent of the nation's supply, ranking 14th among all states.

More than 1.8 billion candy canes will be made for the winter holiday season, including the traditional peppermint flavor as well as super-sour, fruit and tropical fruit flavors. Indiana has nine establishments and 778 employees dedicated to the production of sugar and non-chocolate confectionary products.

A total of 432,000 pounds of peppermint was produced in Indiana in 2009, a 47 percent increase over 2008. Indiana also produced 86,000 pounds of spearmint. Indiana ranks fourth and fifth in the nation's supply of these herbs.

For those who like to celebrate the holidays with wine, there are 48 wineries throughout Indiana that offer a wide array of choices. In 2009, Indiana named Traminette as the state's signature grape, and in August the French Lick Winery won the Indiana Traminette of the Year award with its 2008 Traminette.

For those without time or an inclination to bake, there are 102 retail bakeries in Indiana.

The winter holidays represent the biggest boxed chocolate selling season, as 70 percent of adults give or receive a box of chocolates. In Indiana 30 establishments manufacture chocolate products from either cacao beans or purchased chocolate. These locations may produce a portion of the 150 million chocolate Santas that will be made for the winter holidays.

Holiday travel

Forty-two percent of Americans plan to travel for the holidays this December, down from the 45 percent reported last year. Of those who plan to travel for the holidays, 45 percent will fly to their destination, 51 percent will drive. Nineteen percent plan to spend more on holiday travel this year than last year, whereas 60 percent plan to spend the same amount. Twenty-two percent reported that they will spend more than $2,000 on holiday travel alone.

To find these facts and more, visit the Indiana Business Research Center at . The IBRC is part of a national network of State Data Centers and acts as the official state representative to the Census Bureau on matters relating to the census and population estimates. The IBRC also develops and maintains STATS Indiana, the award-winning, state-supported Web service (