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How much are parents willing to spend on their kids’ holiday gifts?

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people, holidays and family concept - happy girl receiving birthday present from mother at home
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Two in three parents were already staking out the best deals for their kids’ holiday gifts all the way back in September, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 parents of kids 0-18 looked at how they’re planning on getting their hands on the perfect gift for their child and found that 42% said their child is anticipating a hot-ticket item for the holidays this year.

This may be why the average parent is checking on prices for certain items four times a week, with 38% doing so more than four times in a week and parents of kids 4-6 and 13-15 being the most alert to prices.

While 36% said that their budget this year is tighter than last, 34% actually have a bit more to spend.

On average, parents are budgeting $220 for each child – with the highest budgets for 7-12-year-olds – but 28% are trying to keep it below $100.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of The Toy Association, the survey found that when holiday shopping for their kids, parents run into issues around product availability (42%) and not knowing what to get (29%).

Results showed that 44% of parents admitted if they were struggling with finding the hot-ticket item their child wanted for the holidays, they would consider purchasing it from an unknown seller, with parents of early teens being the most likely to.

While four in five parents would be suspicious if they saw a hot-ticket item being sold for a much cheaper price from an online seller they weren’t familiar with, 41% would still be tempted to buy it without checking the seller.

“It’s that time of year when parents and other shoppers are searching for fun and unique gifts for kids – but it’s important to keep safety in mind,” said Jennifer Gibbons, a spokesperson at The Toy Association. “Illicit online sellers will try to take advantage of consumers by enticing them with much lower prices or the promise of getting a ‘hot toy.’ But fake, noncompliant products might be dangerous – and should be avoided. Check that a seller has a professional-looking website, and that product descriptions are free from spelling errors and typos. Poorly photoshopped images of a product are another clue that you might be dealing with a fake.”

Parents may also have to worry about their child whose grandparents are involved if they purchase from online sellers since one in five are not confident that their child's grandparents know how to gauge an online toy seller's authenticity (21%).

And there’s a good chance that this may be the bulk of the gifts kids get since 71% of parents whose child’s grandparents are around said that they’re likely to spoil them during the holiday season, with grandparents getting them an average of five gifts per child.

Parents will be paying close attention, however, with three-quarters agreeing that anything purchased from an unknown seller should be thoroughly inspected before being gifted (76%).

This year, parents of kids 0-12 are being more careful than last, with just 29% saying they consider age labels on toys as more of a suggestion than as a warning compared to 40% last year.

Still, 60% of parents said they would allow their child to play with a toy where the recommended age on the package is older than their child.

“Following the age label on toy packaging can protect a child from preventable injury,” added Gibbons.  “Age labels are established by experts who work in child safety and development. In particular, toys labeled 3+ might contain small parts that are a choking hazard to children under three. And the absence of any age label at all could indicate that a toy is a counterfeit since these sellers do not prioritize safety.  By following safe shopping practices and purchasing only from reputable sellers and known brands – whose legitimate toys comply with more than 100 safety tests required by law – families can help ensure this holiday is both fun and safe for children.”

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