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Christmas Gift Guide
Tech Industry

Study: Holiday sales set to jingle

New clothes will top the list, but consumers also will have an eye out for bargains in the computer aisle.

Holiday spending is expected to rise this year despite pressure on pocketbooks from higher energy costs, according to a study released Wednesday.

On average, holiday shoppers will spend $681 this season, compared with $655 last year, The NPD Group predicted in a study. In addition, only 24 percent of 2,100 consumers surveyed said rising gas and oil prices would have a significant impact on their holiday spending, NPD said.

The Internet will continue to be a popular shopping destination, with 37 percent of respondents planning to buy goods online, according to the study. That compares with 67 percent who said they would head to discount stores such as Target and Wal-Mart Stores.

What will people be buying? The leading purchase will be clothing, followed by toys, movies on DVD or videotape, consumer electronics and books.

"Consumers are very aware that prices have come down in computers, and they intend to purchase about the same number or more of them as last year, without spending as much," NPD analyst Marshal Cohen said in a statement.

NPD also said that this holiday season is expected to be notable as "the year of giving to those in need." Shoppers will be more inclined to give to the needy or buy products for which the proceeds will go to charity, the research firm said.